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New York at Tampa Bay

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N.Y. Yankees «55000700017201
Tampa Bay200000100352

Giambi, Matsui pace new-look lineup in Yankees rout

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The New York Yankees played with purpose, nudging closer to first-place Boston in the AL East.

Jason Giambi hit his 30th homer and drove in five runs, helping the Yankees rout the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 17-3 Tuesday night to pull within 2½ games of the Red Sox and also stay one game back of front-running Cleveland in the wild-card race.

"This is the fun time of the year," said Giambi, who homered in his third consecutive game for the second time this season. "This is what you play the whole season for. ... If you don't play (well) in September, there's no October."

Hideki Matsui and Jorge Posada had four RBI apiece, and the Yankees climbed a season-high 19 games over .500.

Jaret Wright (5-2) allowed three runs and five hits in seven innings, winning his third consecutive decision since coming off the disabled list Aug. 15. He had no decisions in his previous three starts.

"We've got to take this as one game," New York's Bernie Williams said. "We've got to forget about what we did tonight and come out fresh tomorrow."

Giambi had a three-run homer in the first and a two-run single in the sixth, when New York scored seven runs and batted around for the third time in the game. After getting just 12 homers and 40 RBI during an illness-filled 2004 season, Giambi has reached 30 homers for the sixth time in his career and driven in 79 runs.

New York finished with 20 hits, 18 of them singles. Matsui went 4-for-4 with a two-run double and two-run single. Posada drew a bases-loaded walk in the first, then followed with a RBI single in the second and two-run single in the sixth.

"The Yankees flexed their muscles. What can I say? ... They came out swinging the bats and made a statement," Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said.

Tampa Bay has been a troublesome opponent for the Yankees, winning 11 of 16 games between the teams before Tuesday night to put a crimp in New York's bid for an eighth consecutive division title.

New York manager Joe Torre tinkered with his batting order, moving Alex Rodriguez into the No. 2 hole, hitting Giambi third and placing Gary Sheffield in the cleanup spot for the first time this year. The moves paid immediate dividends.

The Yankees scored five times in the first and added five more runs in the second, with the first seven batters reaching base in each inning against Doug Waechter (5-10) and Dewon Brazelton.

"They got tired of people asking why they can't win against us," Tampa Bay's Carl Crawford said. "They tried to bury us early and just did what they had to do."

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Yankees scored at least five runs in the first and second innings for the first time since a 14-7 win at Cleveland on July 24, 2002.

New York batted around in the first two innings for the first time since Sept. 18 last year during a 14-4 victory over Boston.

"I just like the fact that we swung the bats," Torre said. "We haven't done that very well against this club."

The big blow in the first was Giambi's homer. He extended his hitting streak to a season-high nine games, raising his average to .286, and has nine homers and 26 RBI in his last 15 games.

Wright settled down after allowing a walk and three hits in the first, when Travis Lee had a two-run single. Lee's two-out double in the fourth was Tampa Bay's only hit over the next five innings.

Nick Green drove in Tampa Bay's third run with the fifth hit off the Yankees starter, a RBI single with two outs in the seventh.

Waechter allowed five runs and five hits and didn't retire any of the seven batters he faced. Brazelton came on to get Tampa Bay out of the first, but then couldn't get anybody out in the second. The two Devil Rays pitchers combined to throw 61 pitches, but only recorded three outs.

"It was just one of those games. It didn't matter what (Waechter) did," Crawford said. "The way they came out, it was going to happen to whoever pitched."

Notes

  • Sheffield returned to New York's lineup as the designated hitter after sitting out four games because of a strained left thigh muscle.
  • Devil Rays pitching coach Chuck Hernandez missed the game with flu-like symptoms. Joe Coleman served as acting pitching coach..
  • The crowd of 14,048 boosted Tampa Bay's attendance over the 1 million mark. The Devil Rays were the last team in the majors to reach that plateau.
  • The Yankees had 11 plate appearances with the bases loaded, going 4-for-9 with two walks and 10 RBI.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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The Yanks enjoy a first-inning homer by Jason Giambi (right), who has nine HRs in the last 15 games.  (AP)
The Yanks enjoy a first-inning homer by Jason Giambi (right), who has nine HRs in the last 15 games. (AP)

Players of the Game
New York

J. Giambi
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 5
New York

H. Matsui
AB 4
R 2
H 4
HR 0
RBI 4
 
New York Yankees
Derek Jeter, SS4211114.307
Alex Rodriguez, 3B3321202.319
Jason Giambi, 1B4225103.286
a-Andy Phillips, PR-1B1100000.158
Gary Sheffield, RF3210200.290
b-Ruben Sierra, PR-DH1100000.243
Hideki Matsui, LF4244000.297
c-Matt Lawton, PR-LF0100100.256
Bernie Williams, CF5131002.256
d-Mike Vento, PR-RF1000001.000
Jorge Posada, C3124200.257
Robinson Cano, 2B6130024.288
Bubba S. Crosby, CF6021017.228
Mark Bellhorn, 3B2000001.209
Felix Escalona, SS1000000.231
Wil Nieves, C1000000.000
Totals451720179424
a-Grounded out for J Giambi in the 6th.
b-Flied out for G Sheffield in the 6th.
c-Walked for H Matsui in the 6th.
d-Fielder's choice - safe for B Williams in the 6th.
BATTING
2B - H Matsui (39)
HR - J Giambi (30)
RBI - D Jeter (57); A Rodriguez (111); J Giambi 5 (79); H Matsui 4 (108); B Williams (62); J Posada 4 (61); B Crosby (2)
FIELDING
E - A Phillips (1)
New York Yankees
Jaret Wright (W,5-2) 7.05324405.37
Felix Rodriguez 1.00000104.34
Jorge De Paula 1.00001008.53
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Julio Lugo, SS2000110.296
Carl Crawford, LF2110101.295
Jorge L. Cantu, 2B4000003.289
Aubrey Huff, RF3110100.257
Jonny J. Gomes, DH3000111.286
Travis Lee, 1B2022000.279
a-Eric Munson, PH-1B2000001.222
Alex S. Gonzalez, SS3100113.256
Toby Hall, C1000000.282
Joey Gathright, CF3000011.279
Pete Laforest, C3000012.192
Nick Green, 3B1011000.242
Damon Hollins, LF1000001.256
Totals303535513
a-Grounded out for T Lee in the 6th.
BATTING
2B - A Huff (25); T Lee (20)
RBI - T Lee 2 (48); N Green (29)
FIELDING
E - A Huff (3); T Hall (9)
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Doug Waechter (L,5-10) 0.05531015.23
Dewon Brazelton 1.04552207.40
Joe Beimel 4.05001100.00
Tim Corcoran 0.12664007.43
Lance Carter 2.23111004.96
Jesus Colome 1.01000105.45
Game Information
Attendance - 14048
Game Time - 3:09
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Chuck Meriwether, First Base - Mike Everitt, Second Base - Tim Timmons, Third Base - Tim McClelland