Tampa Bay at New York

Scoreboard
Tampa Bay (3-2)000000000040
N.Y. Yankees (3-3) 00020000x291

Wang holds Rays in check, Matsui HR lifts Yanks to victory

CBSSports.com wire reports
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NEW YORK -- Good thing for the New York Yankees that Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera have started the season in peak form, especially with their vaunted offense stuck in an early April freeze.

After Chien-Ming Wang pitched four-hit ball into the seventh inning and Hideki Matsui hit a two-run homer, New York's top relievers closed out a 2-0 victory over the pesky Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.

With manager Joe Girardi back on the bench following an illness, Chamberlain and second baseman Robinson Cano got the Yankees out of a dicey jam in the seventh. Rivera recorded three quick outs in the ninth, and New York won for the third time this year when scoring three runs or fewer.

The Yankees were 6-36 in such games last season.

"You're going to have those weeks," Girardi said. "We got enough today and that's what matters. This offense will break out."

Tampa Bay, which was looking for the best five-game start in its 11-year history, dropped to 3-2 after winning the first two of the four-game series. Girardi missed those games because of an upper respiratory infection while bench coach Rob Thomson managed in his place.

"Nice being back on the bench," said Girardi, adding that his fever was gone. "It's nice being out in that fresh air. Even though it's chilly, you just feel better when you're out there."

Matsui homered in the fourth off James Shields and finished with three hits. The Yankees (3-3) have scored only 17 runs this season -- no more than four in any game.

"Hopefully, you'll see a lot more hitting from us," Johnny Damon said. "We plan to score some runs here soon."

Pitching in short sleeves on a 46-degree afternoon, Wang (2-0) held the Rays hitless until the fifth and took a two-hitter into the seventh.

Cliff Floyd and Eric Hinske opened the inning with singles, putting runners at the corners. Girardi brought in Chamberlain, who soon hit 101 mph on the stadium radar gun and struck out Willy Aybar on three pitches.

Shawn Riggans followed with a line drive that appeared headed for center field, but Cano made a backhand stab and doubled up Hinske at first base after he wandered too far off the bag.

"It was a little different coming in with runners on base, but it was good to do that," Chamberlain said. "You don't want to give up the runs for Chien-Ming. He did such a great job. The bullpen's got to hold it down."

Also working in short sleeves, Chamberlain tossed a perfect eighth before Rivera fanned two in a 1-2-3 ninth. The Yankees are 20-2 in regular-season games when Chamberlain pitches. He has set up Rivera for a save in all three New York wins this season.

"There's definitely an energy when he comes in," Girardi said.

A trainer came out to check on Wang after he appeared to slip on the mound in the fourth. He stayed in the game, however, and finished with six strikeouts.

"He's the No. 1 guy over there for a reason," Riggans said. "He threw the ball excellent, moved it around, changed speeds. Then you get Chamberlain and Rivera."

Wang, known for his nasty sinker, mixed in his slider, splitter and changeup effectively.

"I'm trying to find more ways to get hitters out. I don't want to rely on just my sinker," he said through a translator.

After beating Baltimore 6-2 on opening day, Shields (1-1) gave up eight hits in five-plus innings, struck out five and walked one.

Alex Rodriguez doubled with one out in the fourth, and Matsui followed with a shot to right, his second homer in three games.

"I made one bad pitch. I hung a changeup to Matsui and he hit it out. I got outpitched today," Shields said. "Today was a day when you've got to shut them down. Wang out there, he pitched great today. That was the game, that one pitch."

Matsui, moved up to fifth in the lineup Sunday, is 6-for-10 against Shields with three homers and a double. The slugger had a chance for a huge day, but struck out with the bases loaded, ending the fifth.

Aybar singled with one out in the fifth for Tampa Bay's first hit, and an error by Cano left runners at the corners. But Jason Bartlett missed on suicide squeeze attempt, making Aybar an easy out when catcher Jorge Posada chased him down. Bartlett then struck out, ending the inning.

"That was a mis-assignment. That was a Rays mistake. We messed it up," manager Joe Maddon said. "It wasn't supposed to happen the way it happened."

Rays center fielder B.J. Upton made a diving catch in the first and a strong throw to cut down Wilson Betemit when he tried to go from first to third on Melky Cabrera's single with none out in the third.

Notes

  • Yankees 1B Jason Giambi sat out with a sore left groin.
  • Cabrera returned from a two-game suspension for his role in a spring training fight with the Rays. Yankees backup 1B-OF Shelley Duncan began serving his two-game suspension for his part in the scuffle.
  • Rivera didn't get his third save last year until May 3.
 
Copyright 2015 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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Hideki Matsui puts the Yankees on the scoreboard with this two-run blast in the fourth.  (AP)
Hideki Matsui puts the Yankees on the scoreboard with this two-run blast in the fourth. (AP)

Players of the Game
New York

C. Wang
IP 6.0
H 4
ER 0
BB 2
K 6
New York

H. Matsui
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 2
 

Related Video

Tampa Bay Rays
Akinori Iwamura, 2B4000000 .227
Carl Crawford, LF4000000 .174
Carlos Pena, 1B4010020 .222
B.J. Upton, CF3000111 .278
Cliff Floyd, DH4010011 .333
Eric Hinske, RF2010100 .400
Willy Aybar, 3B3010023 .231
Shawn Riggans, C3000012 .273
Jason Bartlett, SS3000021 .211
Totals3004029  
Batting
CS - Willy Aybar (1, Home by Wang/Posada)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
Outfield Assists - B.J. Upton 1
Tampa Bay Rays
James Shields (L,1-1) 5822151 3.00
J.P. Howell 3100020 0.00
HBP - Betemit (by James Shields)
Pitches-Strikes - James Shields 96-65, J.P. Howell 33-23
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - James Shields 5-4, J.P. Howell 4-3
Batters Faced - James Shields 24, J.P. Howell 10
New York Yankees
Johnny Damon, LF4010001 .136
Derek Jeter, SS4010001 .217
Bobby Abreu, RF4000032 .318
Alex Rodriguez, 3B3110100 .333
Hideki Matsui, DH4132013 .350
Robinson Cano, 2B4020002 .174
Jorge Posada, C4000024 .143
Wilson Betemit, 1B2000002 .200
Melky Cabrera, CF3010011 .364
Totals3229217  
Batting
2B - Alex Rodriguez (3, Shields), Robinson Cano (1, Shields)
HR - Hideki Matsui (2, Shields)
RBI - Hideki Matsui 2 (4)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Cano-Betemit
E - Robinson Cano (2, Missed catch of throw)
New York Yankees
Chien-Ming Wang (W,2-0) 6400260 1.38
Joba Chamberlain (H,2) 2000010 0.00
Mariano Rivera (S,3) 1000020 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Chien-Ming Wang 96-56, Joba Chamberlain 11-13, Mariano Rivera 12-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chien-Ming Wang 8-4, Joba Chamberlain 2-2
Batters Faced - Chien-Ming Wang 24, Joba Chamberlain 5, Mariano Rivera 3
Game Information
Attendance - 51279
Game Time - 2:53
Temperature - 46
Umpires - Home - Ted Barrett, First Base - James Hoye, Second Base - Doug Eddings, Third Base - Dana DeMuth