Yankees 5, Devil Rays 4

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NEW YORK (AP)—Bases loaded, one-run game, 2-0 count.

Paul Quantrill didn’t have much room for error when the New York Yankees brought him into the game in the sixth inning Friday night.

Quantrill escaped by retiring Toby Hall on a flyout, and Mariano Rivera worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth, holding off the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 5-4.

“I’m not too sure of how many people I’d want to do that to,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said after putting the pressure on Quantrill.

Jorge Posada hit a go-ahead, two-run single for the Yankees, who have won two straight against the Devil Rays after losing five of six to the New York Mets and Detroit.

Tampa Bay, which has lost seven of 10 to the Yankees this year, dropped to 4-6 in July after going 20-6 in June.

“We’re getting our chances to put some runs on the board. Now we can’t get them,” said Rocco Baldelli, who popped to first baseman Tony Clark in foul territory for the final out.

A day after he was selected for his first All-Star game, Javier Vazquez (10-5) fell behind 3-1 on Jose Cruz Jr.’s two-run homer in the first and Robert Fick’s solo shot in the fourth. But Posada singled to cap a three-run fifth that put New York ahead 4-3.

Vazquez opened the sixth by fanning Baldelli, giving him a season-high nine strikeouts, but left after walking the bases loaded with two outs.

Quantrill relieved with a 2-0 count on Hall, who then took a strike and fouled off two pitches. After taking ball three to work the count full, Hall fouled off three more pitches before flying to center.

“I’m not going to give them that tying run,” Quantrill said. “I wanted to make a lot of good pitches. I didn’t want to try to make a great pitch and nibble too much.”

In Tampa Bay’s 7-1 loss Thursday, Hall batted with the bases loaded and the Devil Rays down a run in the fourth and also hit an inning-ending flyout.

“The last couple of nights, we’ve left the bases loaded four or five times,” Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said.

Vazquez allowed four hits in 5 2-3 innings, winning for the seventh time in eight decisions, and matched his season high with five walks. No New York starter has pitched seven innings since Vazquez beat Baltimore 5-2 on June 24.

Tom Gordon struck out two of three batters in the eighth. After Kenny Lofton hit an RBI single in the bottom half off Trever Miller for his third hit and a 5-3 lead, Rivera finished for his 31st save in 32 chances.

Former Yankee Tino Martinez, greeted with a standing ovation, hit a run-scoring single. Rivera allowed an infield hit to Carl Crawford, then walked the switch-hitting Cruz, who batted right-handed. He went to 3-2 on Baldelli before closing it out.

“It’s a helpless feeling,” Torre said. “You know he’s the best there is. You just put it in the back of your mind that everything is going to be all right.”

Piniella was ejected in the eighth by plate umpire Dan Iassogna after arguing from the dugout following a called strike to Fick.

“I had talked to him before about the high strike zone that he was calling,” Piniella said. “That was the second time. I didn’t cuss. I said the pitch was high.”

John Halama, who allowed seven hits, left after Lofton’s leadoff infield single in the fifth and Bernie Williams’ walk. Piniella treated it like the eighth inning, going to his bullpen and bringing in Jesus Colome (2-2), who was throwing 98 mph.

Derek Jeter, who singled in a run in the third, sacrificed the runners over with a bunt down the first-base line and Gary Sheffield walked, loading the bases.

Alex Rodriguez popped to short right field, dropping him to 0-for-8 with the bases loaded this season. Lance Carter came in to face Jason Giambi and forced in a run with a walk on a 3-2 pitch before giving up the single to Posada on a high changeup.

Posada threw out Crawford, who leads the majors with 38 steals, in the top of the inning. Torre called that key, but Posada gave the credit for the win to Quantrill.

“That was the biggest pitch of the game,” the catcher said.

Notes

The Yankees were told earlier in the week by Arizona that LHP Randy Johnson was not available, a New York official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. … New York RHP Kevin Brown, on the disabled list since June 10 because of a back spasm and an intestinal parasite, felt normal soreness Friday, a day after a bullpen session. He plans another bullpen session Sunday, and if all goes well, he will either return to the rotation after the All-Star break or make a minor league rehabilitation start. … Sheffield winced in pain and needed assistance from a trainer after missing a pitch in the third. …Piniella was ejected for the first time this season.

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