Devil Rays 5, Yankees 2
In an extreme example of a baseball rite of passage, Devil Rays rookies were forced to dress in drag for the road trip that followed Sunday’s 5-2 win over the New York Yankees.
With a roster full of newcomers, the Tampa Bay clubhouse looked more like a women’s dressing room.
“I’ve never seen so many kids with a dress code. I never wore a dress,” manager Lou Piniella said.
Even the normally buttoned-up Yankees got into the fun before their final road trip of the regular season—and they were a little more creative in choosing the attire.
“Sexy,” said Roger Clemens, who videotaped his teammates walking down the hallway.
Before everybody started playing dress-up, Tampa Bay went ahead on Marlon Anderson’s two-out single in the eighth. The Devil Rays took advantage of a throwing error by Enrique Wilson and New York’s shaky bullpen.
Toby Hall added a two-run double as the Devil Rays scored three unearned runs in the eighth to end New York’s eight-game winning streak. Baldelli homered for Tampa Bay, which snapped a five-game skid and avoided its 90th loss.
That opened the door for the Devil Rays.
“I just made a bad throw. Nobody’s perfect,” Wilson said. “It was a mistake. I feel bad right now because we lose the game because of that. I don’t have any excuse.”
Anderson went 9-for-16 in the four-game series, improving his career batting average against the Yankees to .471 (32-for-68). He has 11 RBIs against New York this season.
“Me and Jeter got a little joke going,” Anderson said. “If we played them more often I could win the batting title.”
Contreras, who left his last start with a mildly sprained ankle, gave up two runs and five hits in seven innings for the Yankees. He struck out a career-high eight.
“I think I threw one of my best games of the season,” Contreras said.
Waechter made his third major league start for the Devil Rays and had another encouraging outing, allowing only Jeter’s home run in five innings.
“He just ran out of gas,” Piniella said. “This kid here is solidifying his position to be in our rotation, and probably a little more than that.”
Waechter beat Seattle with a two-hit shutout in his first big league start Sept. 3. He grew up in St. Petersburg, Fla., and went to high school 4 1/2 miles from Tropicana Field.
“He was as good as advertised,” Yankees catcher John Flaherty said.
Waechter’s sister, Carissa, lives in New York, so he had a cheering section of about 20 friends and family members behind home plate.
“It’s very cool to see my brother pitch in Yankee Stadium,” his sister said.
Baldelli sent a 1-0 pitch over the left-field fence with two outs in the fifth for his 10th homer, giving Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead.
But Waechter walked Nick Johnson with two outs in the fifth, and Jeter hit a 3-1 pitch over the right-field fence for his 10th homer and a 2-1 lead.
Tampa Bay tied it in the seventh when Anderson led off with a double, moved to third on Hall’s groundout and scored on Julio Lugo’s single.
“We needed this one, and our kids pulled it out,” Piniella said.
The Yankees finished their homestand 8-3 and head to Baltimore for a four-game series that begins Monday. … Baldelli also singled twice and stole two bases, giving him 24 steals. He was caught stealing in the ninth. … Tampa Bay’s Aubrey Huff singled in the ninth for his 181st hit this year, tying Randy Winn’s team record set last season. … Anderson matched his career high with61 RBIs.