Yankees 10, Devil Rays 9

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—The New York Yankees gave themselves every opportunity to lose, and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays wouldn’t let them.

Juan Rivera hit a three-run homer and Todd Zeile added a tiebreaking RBI double as the AL East leaders scored four times in the ninth inning to beat the last-place Devil Rays 10-9 Tuesday night.

The Yankees stranded 15 baserunners, allowed two runs to score on errors and blew a three-run lead in the seventh when Al Reyes gave up a grand slam.

“It’s definitely frustrating,” Tampa Bay’s Damian Rolls said. “We had them on the ropes.”

The Devil Rays wasted Marlon Anderson’s first career grand slam, which put them ahead 8-6. They added another run in the seventh on third baseman Robin Ventura’s fielding error, but closer Lance Carter (4-3) couldn’t hold the three-run lead.

Raul Mondesi doubled to lead off the ninth and John Flaherty reached on an infield single before Rivera, batting ninth, hit his first homer of the season to straightaway center.

Carter hit Derek Jeter with a pitch one out later, and Zeile—replacing Jason Giambi, who left in the seventh with a bruised right wrist—doubled into the gap in right-center to drive in the go-ahead run and snap a 1-for-27 skid.

“Juan got the big hit, mine was just the icing,” Zeile said. “The pressure was off at that point.”

The Yankees have won nine of their last 11 games.

“The way they came back and jumped all over us with the grand slam and then taking advantage of an error, to come back and win that ballgame was important,” manager Joe Torre said. “You basically had to pick yourself up, and that’s what we did.”

Jason Anderson (1-0) pitched a perfect eighth for his first major league victory. Mariano Rivera worked the ninth for his 10th save in 11 opportunities as the Yankees won for just the second time in 28 tries when trailing after eight innings.

“It’s pretty obvious what happened out there. … I didn’t get them out,” said Carter, who blew his fifth save in 17 opportunities.

“If you’re looking for an excuse, you’re not going to get it from me. I just didn’t get them out.”

Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella declined to meet with reporters.

“If you’re waiting for me, I’m not talking,” he said after stepping out of his office.

Marlon Anderson’s fourth homer of the season wiped out a 6-4 deficit after Chris Hammond gave up a single and a walk to load the bases with no outs. Al Reyes, the third Yankees pitcher, struck out pinch-hitter Jason Tyner before giving up the grand slam.

Anderson, who has two homers and 10 RBIs against New York this year, also drove in a run off Jeff Weaver in the third when he grounded to first with the bases loaded and finished with a career-high five RBIs.

Flaherty, who played five seasons for Tampa Bay before signing with the Yankees last winter, homered off Dewon Brazelton during New York’s four-run second. Giambi and Jorge Posada had RBI singles in the inning, and the Yankees added run-scoring singles by Hideki Matsui and Ventura for a 6-3 lead in the fourth.

Weaver gave up a solo homer to Rocco Baldelli in the first, an unearned run on Jeter’s throwing error in the second and had to work out of a jam with the bases loaded to keep the lead in the third.

The Devil Rays fought back after Brazelton allowed three runs and walked four in one-plus inning. They chased Weaver, who hasn’t won in six starts since May 15, when Carl Crawford’s RBI single trimmed the deficit to 6-4.

Flaherty’s homer was his first as a Yankee, and Piniella decided he had seen enough of Brazelton after the next batter, Rivera, singled.

The Yankees built their lead to 4-1 on RBI singles by Giambi and Posada, but wasted an opportunity for more runs in the second when Ventura struck out and Mondesi popped up with the bases loaded.

Ventura, whose 16 career grand slams are the most among active players, also struck out after Brazelton walked Alfonso Soriano, Giambi and Matsui to load the bases in the first. He went to the plate with the bases loaded for the third straight time in the fourth and singled off Jorge Sosa, driving in onerun for a 6-3 lead.

Notes

Ventura was 0-for-8 with the bases loaded this season before his fourth-inning single. … Baldelli’s homer was his first at Tropicana Field. … Giambi, who went 2-for-3, has reached base safely in 30 consecutive games. … According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Rolls became just the third player to get three extra-base hits off Roger Clemens in one game when he had two homers and a double Monday night. The others are Jim Thome on June 2, 2001, and Edgar Martinez on Aug. 18, 2002. Rolls is one of 11 players to homer twice in a gameagainst Clemens.

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