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Tampa Bay at New York

Scoreboard
Tampa Bay (89-61)011000100380
N.Y. Yankees (92-59) «50000021x8120

Yankees start fast, sink Rays, extend AL East lead

CBSSports.com wire reports
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NEW YORK -- Real fast, Nick Swisher and the New York Yankees got real comfortable against James Shields.

Swisher homered to key a five-run burst in the first inning against Big Game James and the Yankees beat Tampa Bay 8-3 on Tuesday night, opening a 2½-game lead over the Rays in the AL East.

More on Rays at Yankees

The Yankees cut their magic number for clinching a playoff spot to three over Boston. The Rays hold a 6½-game lead in the wild-card race over Boston, which lost 9-1 to Baltimore.

Shields (13-13) started against the Yankees for the sixth time this season. He had done well in his previous outings, but this time they figured him out in a hurry.

"This is two in a row we faced him. We made some adjustments, he made some adjustments," Swisher said. "Tonight, we put it on him."

It's a pattern that's troubled the Rays rotation for the last few weeks -- aside from ace David Price, their starters have struggled. Tampa Bay's third straight loss left it 8-10 with a 5.32 ERA in September.

"First inning, I made two or three bad pitches," Shields said. "You let five runs in the first inning, that's definitely not doing my job. With this team, you definitely can't do that."

Tampa Bay nicked Phil Hughes (17-8) and relievers Javier Vazquez and Joba Chamberlain, but never quite got the big hit it needed while stranding 10 runners.

Ahead 7-3, Chamberlain escaped a bases-loaded jam in the eighth by striking out pinch-hitter Brad Hawpe and getting John Jaso on a liner to center. Chamberlain finished for his third save.

New York has won the first two in this four-game series, and pulled even at 8-all with the Rays this season.

"I think we all pretty much know what's at stake," Swisher said. "Take the Rays and us and line us up, and let's see what happens.

"Getting kind of chilly out there, smells like playoff baseball," he said.

Robinson Cano blooped an opposite-field, two-run double to left in front of a diving Carl Crawford for a 7-3 lead in the seventh. Derek Jeter doubled home a run in the eighth.

"We haven't accomplished anything yet, but I like what I've seen," Jeter said. "Right now it seems like things are starting to click a little bit."

A bright moon hung over the right-field facade when the game began, and Swisher hit a rocket into the bleachers on Shields' sixth pitch for his 27th homer. Jorge Posada hit an RBI single with two outs, Lance Berkman boomed a two-run double and Curtis Granderson's single made it 5-0.

"We put our 'A' lineup out there," Swisher said.

Shields backed up the plate on Granderson's hit, and slammed his pitching hand into his glove and shouted at himself. Shields had a word, too, for plate umpire Mike Everitt in the third after Posada reached on a hit by pitch.

The ball skipped past Posada's shin and he instantly headed toward first base - it was impossible to tell from replays whether the pitch grazed his pants leg and besides, umpires make that call based on sound, rather than sight.

Shields, catcher Jaso and manager Joe Maddon calmly discussed it with Everitt, surely still smarting from Jeter's admitted act last week after a Rays pitch hit the knob of his bat, not him. Maddon came out again when the inning ended to talk with Everitt, maybe thinking that after an episode of Jeter Cheater, it should be Posada Nada.

Maddon said his "guys told me it didn't hit him."

"But we're in New York, we're also close to the theater district and more power to them," Maddon said.

Matt Joyce hit a solo home run in the Rays second and Evan Longoria had an RBI single in the third. Ben Zobrist grounded out with the bases loaded to end the fourth and brushed past Hughes, who was covering first. Hughes turned to look at Zobrist, but nothing ensued.

Notes

  • Posada was hit in the groin area by Longoria's foul tip with two outs in the ninth. He was checked by a trainer and stayed in the game.
  • Hughes has given up 20 home runs at home this season, matching the Yankees mark set by Scott Sanderson in 1992, the Elias Sports Bureau said.
  • Wade Davis is set to start for the Rays on Wednesday night against A.J. Burnett.
  • Yankees manager Joe Girardi said 1B Mark Teixeira, in a 3-for-20 slump and nursing a broken toe and sore thumb, may get a couple of days off next week if possible.
  • Vazquez went one inning and for the first time since 2000, he did not strike out a batter. That was a span of 349 outings, almost all of them starts.
 
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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Nick Swisher gets the Yankees on the scoreboard early with a solo shot, part of a five-run first inning.  (AP)
Nick Swisher gets the Yankees on the scoreboard early with a solo shot, part of a five-run first inning. (AP)

Players of the Game
New York

L. Berkman
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 0
RBI 2
New York

N. Swisher
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
 
Tampa Bay Rays
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
John Jaso, C3100203 .265
Ben Zobrist, 2B4000105 .245
Carl Crawford, LF4011101 .305
Evan Longoria, 3B5011012 .293
Dan Johnson, DH4010012 .226
Matt Joyce, RF3121100 .234
Carlos Pena, 1B4000023 .201
B.J. Upton, CF4010011 .234
Jason Bartlett, SS3120010 .251
   a- Brad Hawpe, PH1000013 .245
    Reid Brignac, SS0000000 .265
Totals3538357  
a-struck out for Bartlett in the 8th
Batting
HR - Matt Joyce (9, Hughes)
RBI - Carl Crawford (82), Evan Longoria (102), Matt Joyce (36)
2-OUT RBI - Carl Crawford (22), Evan Longoria (39)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Pena-Bartlett-Shields
Tampa Bay Rays
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
James Shields (L,13-13) 5.1755241 4.96
Jake McGee 0.2000000 4.50
Chad Qualls 0.2222010 8.00
Randy Choate0100000 4.54
Lance Cormier 0.1000010 4.05
Andy Sonnanstine 1211000 4.64
IBB - Berkman by James Shields
HBP - Posada (by James Shields)
Pitches-Strikes - James Shields 104-64, Jake McGee 9-6, Chad Qualls 18-12, Randy Choate 4-3, Lance Cormier 7-4, Andy Sonnanstine 16-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - James Shields 5-6, Jake McGee 2-0, Chad Qualls 1-0, Andy Sonnanstine 3-0
Batters Faced - James Shields 25, Jake McGee 2, Chad Qualls 4, Randy Choate 1, Lance Cormier 1, Andy Sonnanstine 5
New York Yankees
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Derek Jeter, SS5021010 .265
Nick Swisher, RF5121002 .290
    Greg Golson, RF0000000 .214
Mark Teixeira, 1B3200101 .255
Alex Rodriguez, 3B4220010 .273
Robinson Cano, 2B4012012 .322
Jorge Posada, C3121011 .262
Lance Berkman, DH3112101 .253
Curtis Granderson, CF4011010 .249
Brett Gardner, LF4110013 .280
Totals35812826  
Batting
2B - Derek Jeter (30, Sonnanstine), Robinson Cano (39, Choate), Jorge Posada (23, Shields), Lance Berkman (23, Shields), Brett Gardner (19, Sonnanstine)
HR - Nick Swisher (27, Shields)
RBI - Derek Jeter (65), Nick Swisher (85), Robinson Cano 2 (104), Jorge Posada (57), Lance Berkman 2 (56), Curtis Granderson (60)
2-OUT RBI - Derek Jeter (24), Robinson Cano 2 (33), Jorge Posada (22), Lance Berkman 2 (18), Curtis Granderson (22)
Team LOB - 6
New York Yankees
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Phil Hughes (W,17-8) 6.1433561 4.31
Javier Vazquez (H,1) 1300000 5.05
Joba Chamberlain (S,3) 1.2100010 4.34
WP - Phil Hughes (9)
Pitches-Strikes - Phil Hughes 112-67, Javier Vazquez 21-14, Joba Chamberlain 26-16
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Phil Hughes 8-5, Javier Vazquez 1-2, Joba Chamberlain 2-2
Batters Faced - Phil Hughes 28, Javier Vazquez 6, Joba Chamberlain 6
Game Information
Attendance - 46609
Game Time - 3:14
Temperature - 66
Umpires - Home - Mike Everitt, First Base - Adrian Johnson, Second Base - Andy Fletcher, Third Base - Tim McClelland