The New York Yankees are again playing like they were during their fast start in April.
The Yankees look extend their four-game winning streak as they play a day-night doubleheader against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Tuesday.
The Yankees have won four straight since manager Joe Torre held a team meeting after a record six Houston pitchers combined for the first no-hitter against New York in 45 years on Wednesday.
“I don’t think I told them anything that they didn’t know,” Torre said. “They were pretty embarrassed by that game—we all were. You find out about your character.”
Before their streak began, the Yankees had gone 16-24 during six mistake-filled weeks.
Mike Mussina pitched eight strong innings and Robin Ventura hit a two-run double that lifted New York over the St. Louis Cardinals 5-2 Sunday for a three-game sweep in their first meeting since the 1964 World Series.
One of them will start on three days’ rest Saturday against the New York Mets, manager Joe Torre said. Torre considered giving a spot start to little-used reliever Sterling Hitchcock, but decided against it.
“I think Hitchcock is still going to be valuable where we have him, down in the bullpen,” Torre said. “Without (Jose) Contreras or Weaver out there, we need an experienced long man.”
Tampa Bay lost two of three to the Pittsburgh Pirates to continue it’s slide. The Devil Rays have lost nine of their last 10. Tampa Bay blew several early leads on its way to a 9-5 loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday. The Devil Rays committed two errors that accounted for four unearned runs.
“It was a rough one,” Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said. “We gave them the ball game. Just gave it to them.”
STANDINGS: Devil Rays - 5th place, 16 1/2 GB, AL East. Yankees - 1st place, AL East.
DEVIL RAYS PROBABLE GAME ONE STARTER: Doug Brazelton (1-5, 6.75 ERA).The 23-year-old right-hander is 0-4 with a 6.93 ERA in five road starts. Brazelton did not qualify for a decision after walking six and allowing six runs in five innings in Tampa Bay’s 7-6 loss to Cincinnati on Wednesday. Brazelton has given up at least three runs in each of his eight starts, including five runs or more in five starts. Right-handed batters are hitting .293 against him.
YANKEES PROBABLE GAME ONE STARTER: Weaver (3-5, 5.45 ERA). Weaver will be making his second straight start after a limited bullpen stint. He did little to cement his spot in the rotation on Wednesday, allowing five runs and 10 hits in 6 1-3 innings of the Yankees’ 8-0 no-hit loss to Houston. Weaver is 0-3 with a 6.56 ERA in his last five starts.
DEVIL RAYS PROBABLE GAME TWO STARTER: Jeremi Gonzalez (2-2, 3.25 ERA). Gonzalez has pitched well, allowing three runs or fewer in five of his six starts. The 28-year-old right-hander lost 2-1 against Cincinnati on Wednesday. Gonzalez gave up two runs and five hits while walking five in seven innings. Opponents are hitting just .162 against him.
YANKEES PROBABLE GAME TWO STARTER: Wells (8-2, 3.63 ERA). Wells is 6-1 with a 2.98 ERA in 10 career starts against Tampa Bay. The left-hander failed to earn a decision after getting charged with five runs and 10 hits in six innings of New York’s 6-5 win over Houston on Thursday.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Devil Rays - Rocco Baldelli, .322 avg.; Aubrey Huff, 15 HRs, 37 RBIs and 39 runs; Carl Crawford, 15 SBs. Yankees - Hideki Matsui, .289 avg.; Alfonso Soriano, 18 HRs, 54 runs and 18 SBs.; Jason Giambi, 47 RBIs.
SEASON SERIES: Yankees, 2-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Devil Rays - RHP Seth McClung, on the 60-day disabled list with an elbow strain, isn’t responding to treatment and surgery appears likely. … INF Huff has five hits in his last nine at bats, including a home run. … OF Baldelli is hitting .245 in June, lowering his batting average 18 points to .322. Yankees - DH Ruben Sierra is 8-for-18 (.444) with two homers and four RBIs for the Yankees since being acquired from Texas on June 6. … LHP Wells has walked four batters in 91 2-3 innings, a span of 13 starts. … OF Matsui has 16 hits in his last 28 at-bats (.571).
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Devil Rays - 10-23 on the road; Yankees - 18-16 at home.
INJURIES: Devil Rays - SS Rey Ordonez (knee), 15-day DL; LHP Joe Kennedy (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP McClung (elbow), 60-day DL. Yankees - 1B Nick Johnson (hand), 15-day DL; OF Bernie Williams (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Contreras (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Steve Karsay (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Jon Lieber (elbow), 60-day DL.