|Tampa Bay (78-66) «||0||0||0||0||3||0||1||1||1||6||9||0|
|N.Y. Yankees (81-63)||0||1||0||0||1||0||0||2||0||4||7||1|
NEW YORK -- Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon insisted he was going back to his hotel to call his wife and finish an engrossing novel. That game out in Oakland: not on the agenda.
His team had other ideas.
David Price earned his league-leading 18th win with another superb performance against the New York Yankees, and the Rays opened a key series against their AL East rival Friday night by taking advantage of a fading CC Sabathia and hanging on for a 6-4 victory.
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After being swept by the Orioles this week to fall four games back of division co-leaders New York and Baltimore, the Rays let loose -- jumping around and clapping hands, Price said. They also had every TV in the clubhouse turned to the O's and A's.
"That was a big game for us, facing CC and that lineup," Price said. "We were up to the task."
Out of the rotation since Sept. 2 because of a sore shoulder, Price (18-5) boosted his AL Cy Young Award credentials with seven innings of two-run ball. Striking out six and giving up five hits, the lanky lefty got a big lift from an inadvertent deflection off an umpire and a fine play by second baseman Elliot Johnson.
Price improved to 7-3 against the Yankees. The Rays have won seven of the eight games he has matched up against Sabathia.
With Price out of the game, Alex Rodriguez hit his 647th homer, a two-run shot off Joel Peralta in the eighth that sent him past Lou Gehrig for ninth place on the runs list with 1,889 and scored Derek Jeter to make it 5-4.
Jeter, serving as the designated hitter for a second straight day because of an injured ankle, singled leading off to wake up the 45,200 fans that were silenced by Tampa Bay's rally against Sabathia (13-6). Jeter had an infield single in the fifth to pass Willie Mays for 10th on the hits list with 3,284.
After a walk to Robinson Cano, closer Fernando Rodney entered. The top reliever by ERA in the majors (0.66) struck out Russell Martin, threw a wild pitch and walked pinch hitter Raul Ibanez. Curtis Granderson meekly grounded to end the threat and send many to the exits.
Rodney finished with a perfect ninth for his 43rd save in 45 chances.
"We had two Cy Young candidates pitch for us tonight," Maddon said. "Two guys at the top of their game. It was fun to watch."
The Yankees lost for the fourth straight time with their burly ace on the mound, and this one could send them out of first place in the East for the first time since June 11.
Sabathia was sharp early, allowing only a single through four innings. But he lost control of his breaking ball in the fifth and was done after allowing six hits and four runs in 6 2/3 innings.
"I still believe in CC," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "There's a guy that's done so many special things for us here. So I still believe in him."
Before the game, Maddon bemoaned his ballclub's inability to get the clutch hits in support of a stellar staff.
The bottom of the order helped turn that around.
Sabathia cruised into the fifth, allowing only hit in the first, but Chris Gimenez led off with a double for Tampa Bay's second hit. Gimenez advanced to third on a wild pitch and Carlos Pena walked. Johnson, the No. 9 batter, had an RBI single and Desmond Jennings followed with a run-scoring hit.
Another wild pitch put runners on second and third and the third run scored on Evan Longoria's double-play grounder.
"It's no secret our offense -- we're not big boppers. We've got to scratch and claw for runs," Gimenez said. "Any time you can get three runs off CC Sabathia is huge."
Granderson immediately pulled New York to 3-2 with his 38th homer, a drive that a just eluded the glove of a leaping Upton and bounced off the top of the wall and into the Yankees bullpen in right-center.
With one out Eduardo Nunez hit a hard grounder down the third base line that caught umpire Jerry Meals on the right knee as he tried to jump out of the way -- as he came down, Meals smoothly motioned the ball was fair. It landed near the shortstop.
Whether or not the fans knew the ball deflected off the umpire who made an incorrect call to end a Yankees' loss in Baltimore a week ago, they booed heartily when Nunez ended up only on first base.
"I said to home plate umpire Scott Barry `That might be the best play he made in his life,"' Gimenez said. "It was much needed after the series we just had."
But the fans then broke out into a sustained standing ovation when Jeter hit an infield single off Johnson's glove at second base to pass Mays.
"It's kind of tough to think about it now, but yeah, it's pretty special," Jeter said. "Right now, there's a pennant race to think about."
Johnson didn't miss next time, though.
With two outs and runners on first and second, Rodriguez hit a sharp grounder. Johnson, shifted toward second base, made a diving stop in the hole and threw out A-Rod to end the threat.
Steve Pearce gave the Yankees the early lead a with an RBI single.
The Rays added a run in the ninth against Joba Chamberlain when Nunez, filling in at shortstop, made an error on Longoria's routine grounder.
|David Price defeats the Yankees to pick up his league-leading 18th victory and improve to 7-3 for his career vs. N.Y. (US Presswire)|
|Players of the Game|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Desmond Jennings, LF||5||1||2||1||0||0||1||.251|
|Ben Zobrist, SS||4||0||2||1||1||0||1||.265|
|Evan Longoria, DH||4||0||0||0||0||0||2||.281|
|Rich Thompson, PR-DH||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.105|
|B.J. Upton, CF||5||1||1||1||0||2||3||.250|
|Jeff Keppinger, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||0||3||.325|
|Ben Francisco, RF||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||.243|
|Sam Fuld, RF||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.282|
|Chris Gimenez, C||4||1||2||0||0||1||0||.232|
|Jose Molina, C||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.203|
|Carlos Pena, 1B||3||1||1||0||1||1||1||.193|
|Elliot Johnson, 2B||3||2||1||1||0||1||1||.245|
|a- Matt Joyce, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.251|
|Reid Brignac, 2B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.105|
|a-struck out for Johnson in the 9th|
|2B - Chris Gimenez 2 (3, Sabathia, Rapada)|
|HR - B.J. Upton (23, Eppley)|
|RBI - Desmond Jennings (42), Ben Zobrist (62), B.J. Upton (68), Elliot Johnson (33)|
|2-OUT RBI - Ben Zobrist (13)|
|SB - Desmond Jennings (27, 2nd base off Chamberlain/Martin), Rich Thompson (5, 2nd base off Chamberlain/Martin), Elliot Johnson (18, 2nd base off Sabathia/Martin)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|DP - Zobrist-Johnson-Pena|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|David Price (W,18-5)||7||5||2||2||2||6||1||2.54|
|Joel Peralta (H,34)||0.1||2||2||2||1||0||1||3.73|
|Fernando Rodney (S,43)||1.2||0||0||0||1||2||0||0.66|
|WP - Fernando Rodney (4)|
|Pitches-Strikes - David Price 105-69, Joel Peralta 17-9, Fernando Rodney 18-12|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - David Price 9-5, Fernando Rodney 2-1|
|Batters Faced - David Price 27, Joel Peralta 4, Fernando Rodney 6|
|New York Yankees|
|Derek Jeter, DH||5||1||2||0||0||2||0||.323|
|Nick Swisher, RF||3||0||0||0||1||0||3||.257|
|Alex Rodriguez, 3B||3||1||1||2||1||1||2||.276|
|Robinson Cano, 2B||3||0||0||0||1||0||1||.299|
|Russell Martin, C||4||1||1||0||0||3||1||.208|
|Andruw Jones, LF||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||.200|
|a- Raul Ibanez, PH-LF||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.225|
|Curtis Granderson, CF||4||1||1||1||0||1||3||.234|
|Steve Pearce, 1B||3||0||1||1||0||1||0||.244|
|b- Ichiro Suzuki, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.269|
|Eduardo Nunez, SS||3||0||1||0||0||0||1||.306|
|c- Eric Chavez, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.287|
|a-walked for A. Jones in the 8th|
|b-grounded out for Pearce in the 9th|
|c-flied out for Nunez in the 9th|
|HR - Alex Rodriguez (18, Peralta), Curtis Granderson (38, Price)|
|RBI - Alex Rodriguez 2 (52), Curtis Granderson (90), Steve Pearce (26)|
|2-OUT RBI - Steve Pearce (10)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Rodriguez-Pearce|
|PB - Russell Martin (7)|
|E - Eduardo Nunez (5, Misplayed grounder)|
|New York Yankees|
|CC Sabathia (L,13-6)||6.2||6||4||4||2||3||0||3.63|
|HBP - Longoria (by CC Sabathia)|
|WP - CC Sabathia 2 (3)|
|Pitches-Strikes - CC Sabathia 110-73, Cody Eppley 11-8, Clay Rapada 10-6, Joba Chamberlain 20-15|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - CC Sabathia 11-6, Cody Eppley 1-1, Clay Rapada 1-0, Joba Chamberlain 1-1|
|Batters Faced - CC Sabathia 29, Cody Eppley 3, Clay Rapada 3, Joba Chamberlain 5|
|Attendance - 45200|
|Game Time - 3:23|
|Temperature - 71|
|Umpires - Home - Scott Barry, First Base - Gary Darling, Second Base - Paul Emmel, Third Base - Jerry Meals|