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Tampa Bay (55-34)000000000041
N.Y. Yankees (48-42) «00200003x5110

Jeter, Pettitte catapult Yankees over division-leading Rays

CBSSports.com wire reports
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NEW YORK -- These were the kind of big plays and big pitches the New York Yankees needed from Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte.

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Jeter delivered with his bat and glove, backing a determined effort by Pettitte that sent the Yankees past the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays 5-0 Tuesday.

"People make a big deal, obviously, because it's Tampa," Jeter said. "Every game is big. We just so happen to be playing them."

Playing smartly, and perhaps with a sense of urgency, the third-place Yankees avoided falling 9½ games behind Tampa Bay. The Rays, with the best record in majors, lost two in row for the first time since June 10-11.

"We know they are a good team. They can make a run at any time," Rays outfielder Carl Crawford said. "But it doesn't matter who we lose to. It's just a loss and we try to forget it and move on to the next game."

Coming off two tight wins over Boston, and about to head into the All-Star break, the Yankees counted on two of their veterans to turn back the young Rays.

"We knew the importance of the game," manager Joe Girardi said.

Jeter lined an early go-ahead double off All-Star Scott Kazmir, then made a stellar, spinning play in the seventh inning that preserved a two-run lead and prompted a sellout crowd to chant his name. Pettitte needed little other help in pitching eight sharp innings.

"It was a big game for us," Pettitte said. "These guys are ahead of us. They're playing with a lot of confidence."

Rays manager Joe Maddon noted before the first pitch the increased attention on this two-game set created "an October feel." He said his team would merely treat it as another series -- the Yankees, in their 90th game this season, saw it as chance to make up ground.

Pettitte (10-6) returned to form, giving up only four hits and walking none. He was focused from the start, often standing with his glove in front of his face, even while Tampa Bay hitters stepped out of the batter's box.

Pettitte was hit hard by Boston in his last outing and called that performance "horrible" and "terrible."

This time, the Rays barely had a chance as Pettitte improved to 15-4 lifetime against them. Pettitte retired the first two batters on two pitches, and was on his way.

When Tampa Bay had a late glimmer of hope, Jeter extinguished it.

Down 2-0, Tampa Bay put runners at the corners with two outs in the seventh. Willy Aybar hit a grounder in the hole that Jeter tracked down, and the All-Star shortstop jumped, spun and made a strong toss from several steps onto the outfield grass that forced out Dioner Navarro at second base.

"I knew I had a chance," Jeter said after his signature play. "As long as you get to it quick and get rid of it quick."

Pettitte wildly waved his left fist in celebration, and several of Jeter's teammates waited to salute their captain near the pitcher's mound.

"That was possibly the game-changer," Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton said. "Runs were definitely hard to come by tonight. We had a chance to score there, and maybe get a couple more."

The crowd of 53,089 broke into a chant for Jeter, and cheered him again when he singled and slid home on Bobby Abreu's double in a three-run eighth.

Reliever Edwar Ramirez pitched a hitless ninth for New York.

Kazmir (7-4), who will be back at Yankee Stadium next Tuesday for the All-Star Game, started in impressive fashion. He struck out Jeter and Alex Rodriguez while fanning seven of the first 10 batters.

At that point, it looked like "he's going to strike out 20," Pettitte said.

Jeter came up with runners on second and third with two outs in the third, and hit a drive to right-center field for a 2-0 lead. Abreu followed with a single to center field, and Upton's one-hop throw cut down Jeter at the plate.

Kazmir struck out nine. He has won just one of his last six starts.

Melky Cabrera, who struck out three times against Kazmir, hit a solo home run in the eighth off Gary Glover and Robinson Cano had an RBI single.

Notes

  • Yankees C Jose Molina had thrown out 12 straight runners trying to steal until Upton swiped second in the seventh inning. Molina's streak was the longest in the majors since Mike LaValliere also caught 12 in 1993.
  • Upton threw out his ninth runner this season.
  • The Yankees threw their fifth shutout in the last 21 games.
  • New York RHP Carl Pavano threw 30 pitches in his first batting practice session since undergoing elbow surgery on June 5, 2007. In the final season of a $39.95 million, four-year contract, the oft-injured Pavano is 5-6 in 19 starts with the Yankees, including 1-0 with a 4.76 ERA in two starts last year.
 
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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Derek Jeter takes over with the glove and bat, dooming the Rays' chances on Tuesday.  (AP)
Derek Jeter takes over with the glove and bat, dooming the Rays' chances on Tuesday. (AP)

Players of the Game
New York

A. Pettitte
IP 8.0
H 4
ER 0
BB 0
K 5
New York

D. Jeter
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
 

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Tampa Bay Rays
Akinori Iwamura, 2B4000000 .274
Carl Crawford, LF4000000 .284
B.J. Upton, CF4020000 .280
Carlos Pena, 1B4010032 .232
Evan Longoria, 3B3000022 .280
Dioner Navarro, C3010000 .317
Willy Aybar, DH3000002 .254
Jonny Gomes, RF3000010 .186
    Gabe Gross, RF0000000 .230
Ben Zobrist, SS3000000 .237
Totals3104006  
Batting
2B - B.J. Upton (20, Pettitte)
SB - B.J. Upton (27, 2nd base off Pettitte/Molina)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Gabe Gross 1, B.J. Upton 1
DP - Zobrist-Iwamura-Pena
E - Scott Kazmir (2, Throwing)
Tampa Bay Rays
Scott Kazmir (L,7-4) 5522190 2.69
Grant Balfour 1100020 0.96
Gary Glover 1333001 4.05
Jason Hammel 1200000 4.78
HBP - Posada (by Jason Hammel)
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Kazmir 97-64, Grant Balfour 16-11, Gary Glover 25-16, Jason Hammel 19-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Kazmir 5-0, Grant Balfour 1-0, Gary Glover 2-1, Jason Hammel 1-1
Batters Faced - Scott Kazmir 20, Grant Balfour 4, Gary Glover 6, Jason Hammel 5
New York Yankees
Melky Cabrera, CF4111034 .247
Derek Jeter, SS4122011 .284
Bobby Abreu, RF4121011 .274
Alex Rodriguez, 3B4000021 .318
Jorge Posada, DH3020010 .288
Wilson Betemit, 1B4000024 .242
Robinson Cano, 2B4121001 .255
Jose Molina, C3120102 .229
Brett Gardner, LF2000012 .130
Totals325115111  
Batting
2B - Derek Jeter (17, Kazmir), Bobby Abreu (20, Glover), Jorge Posada (13, Kazmir), Jose Molina (14, Kazmir)
HR - Melky Cabrera (8, Glover)
SH - Brett Gardner (2)
RBI - Melky Cabrera (34), Derek Jeter 2 (39), Bobby Abreu (56), Robinson Cano (38)
2-OUT RBI - Derek Jeter 2 (17), Robinson Cano (12)
Team LOB - 6
New York Yankees
Andy Pettitte (W,10-6) 8400050 3.93
Edwar Ramirez 1000010 2.81
Pitches-Strikes - Andy Pettitte 114-80, Edwar Ramirez 12-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Andy Pettitte 10-9
Batters Faced - Andy Pettitte 28, Edwar Ramirez 3
Game Information
Attendance - 53089
Game Time - 2:46
Temperature - 84
Umpires - Home - Doug Eddings, First Base - Ted Barrett, Second Base - Dana DeMuth, Third Base - Lance Barksdale