Devil Rays 11, Yankees 2, 1st game; Yankees 10, Devil Rays 2, 2nd game
Wells pitched an economical seven-hitter, and Jason Giambi and Ruben Sierra each had three hits as the New York Yankees rebounded from a nine-run loss with a 10-2 win over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the second game of Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader.
In the opener, the Devil Rays roughed up Weaver for six runs and 10 hits in an 11-2 win, even while hitting into a team-record six double plays. Jeremi Gonzalez pitched one-hit ball for six innings before a crowd of 14,077 in the makeup of an April 11 rainout.
“A lot of young pitchers can learn from Boomer,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said. “You give (Wells) a lead and he’s not going to beat himself.”
Before a more lively crowd of 47,604 on a crisp spring night, Wells was at his stingy best, walking none. He has walked just four batters in 100 2-3 innings this season.
“I take pride in this game,” Wells said. “You got to know the hitters, study the reports, go out there and get ahead in the count.”
Wells (9-2) allowed both runs—one earned—in his 51st complete game and third this year. He needed just 111 pitches—81 strikes—in a game that took 2 hours, 25 minutes.
He might have earned himself a start against the New York Mets on three days rest Saturday.
Before the day game, manager Joe Torre said he’d make his decision on the start based on how well Weaver (3-6) and Wells pitched. Moody on the mound, Weaver slumped his shoulders and shook his head as the Devil Rays knocked him out after just five innings. The Yankees have lost each of Weaver’s last five starts. He’s back in the rotation because Jose Contreras is injured.
“I want it to be Weaver,” Torre said. “But we have to make sure he’ll be aggressive.
“He’s down, he’s not belligerent. He wants to find an answer as much as we do.”
The Yankees scored four unearned runs in the fifth to take a 6-1 lead with help from Devil Rays starter Dewon Brazelton’s throwing error.
After Todd Zeile walked, John Flaherty attempted a sacrifice. Brazelton fielded it with plenty of time to get Zeile at second but his throw sailed into center field. Alfonso Soriano walked, then Derek Jeter grounded into a force for the first run. Giambi struck out and Hideki Matsui singled before Sierra hit a two-run double into left-center, ending Brazelton’s night.
Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella spoke with his pitcher in the dugout after taking him out.
“We talked about a few things. A couple of walks, throw a bunt away, it opened up the floodgates,” Piniella said. “That’s exactly what happened. Walked a guy leading off, threw away the bunt, then there’s another walk—he just can’t do that stuff.”
Sierra drove in three runs and is 11-for-25 with two homers and seven RBIs since joining the Yankees on June 6.
“He’s made himself a better hitter than he was the first time he came here,” Torre said.
Brazelton (1-6), the No. 3 selection in the 2001 draft, allowed six runs— two earned—and seven hits with two walks and a strikeout.
Giambi singled in a run in the first and scored one in the fifth when he doubled and scored on Sierra’s hit.
In the day game, Gonzalez (3-2) allowed Giambi’s 18th homer with two outs in the first, then didn’t allow another hit in his six innings. He walked five and struck out four. He retired the side in the fourth after walking the first two batters and balking them over to second and third.
In his seven starts for the Devil Rays, Gonzalez is holding opposing hitters to a .132 (26-for-197) average. He has allowed three runs or less in six of his seven starts.
“He’s been pitching well for us,” Piniella said. “He hasn’t had a bad ballgame. He challenges the hitters.”
Tampa Bay had 18 hits in the opener and the Yankees had 14 in the night game.
In the fifth, Huff had a two-run double, and Lee followed with a two-run homer into the empty seats in the upper deck. Grieve followed with a shot to center for Tampa Bay’s second straight multihomer game.
Tampa Bay added five more runs in the seventh off reliever Sterling Hitchcock.
The Devil Rays signed LHP James Houser of Sarasota (Florida) High School, their second-round pick (No. 38 overall) in the June draft. … Tampa Bay played in its first Hall of Fame game at Cooperstown, N.Y., on Monday. The Devil Rays lost to the Philadelphia Phillies 7-5. … Giambi has reached basein 25 straight games.