Devil Rays 5, Yankees 3
NEW YORK (AP)—Comeback win, curious loss. The New York Yankees’ roller-coaster season rambles on.
Less than 18 hours after allowing 13 runs in the eighth inning of a 20-11 loss, the last-place Devil Rays improved to 6-3 against the Yankees, who got another home run from Gary Sheffield but little else.
“This was a tough loss, there’s no question, after last night,” manager Joe Torre said. “This one was a little bit of a setback and a surprise because it felt like we were going to win the game.”
Jonny Gomes hit a two-run shot for Tampa Bay, which is 3-2 at Yankee Stadium this season and 4-27 in all other road games.
“For our kids to bounce back, I’m really proud of them,” manager Lou Piniella said.
As has been the case all season, the inconsistent Yankees failed to follow an uplifting victory with another sound ballgame.
Somewhat lost in the euphoria of New York’s startling comeback Tuesday night from an early eight-run deficit was Randy Johnson’s lousy outing. Carl Pavano was better, but Torre left him in one batter too long.
With the Yankees leading 3-2 in the seventh, Pavano (4-6) issued a leadoff walk to Gomes. Two outs later, the right-hander hit Toby Hall with a pitch for the second time.
Green, the No. 9 batter, stunned the crowd of 48,452 by driving a 1-2 pitch over the left-field fence, beyond a leaping Ruben Sierra, for a 5-3 lead.
“I know he was tiring, but like I said, that was going to be his last batter and we thought he could get through that,” Yankees pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre said. “One pitch made it a negative outing.”
It was the 16th home run allowed this year by Pavano, matching his total last season with Florida. Signed to a $39.95 million, four-year contract in the offseason, he has given up 120 hits, most in the major leagues. He fell to 0-4 in six starts since beating the Mets 5-3 on May 23. Before the skid, he won four straight decisions.
The 21-year-old Kazmir (3-5) allowed four hits in seven innings, matching the longest outing of his brief career. It was his first win in five starts.
“At the beginning, I had a lot of fastballs on both sides of the plate. I had good success with that, and then it was just mixing pitches,” Kazmir said.
With dark clouds moving in and a bolt of lightning piercing the sky, Danys Baez struck out Sierra with runners at second and third to end the eighth.
In a steady drizzle, Baez then finished for his 11th save in 17 chances, striking out Derek Jeter with a runner on third to end it. The Devil Rays improved to 4-of-15 in save opportunities on the road.
“We just put everything behind us,” Gomes said. “We’ve got some guys with bounce-back.”
New York, meanwhile, dropped to 0-25 when scoring three runs or fewer.
“They give us a tough time,” Alex Rodriguez said. “We know when Lou comes in here he’s always going to have his troops ready. We definitely don’t take them for granted.”
Bernie Williams singled in the first, and Sheffield drove a 1-2 pitch way over the left-field fence for his third homer in two games and No. 428 of his career. He has nine RBIs in the last two games.
Pavano cruised into the fourth until Gomes hit a two-run shot with two outs, extending his hitting streak to 10 games, the longest by an AL rookie this year. He also connected Tuesday night as the Devil Rays built a 10-2 lead.
“Poor execution,” Pavano said. “I haven’t put together consistently good outings.”
Torre and Stottlemyre said Pavano had a small blood blister on his middle finger drained between innings, but it wasn’t a problem. Strangely, the pitcher refused to acknowledge having the blister.
Pavano examined his finger after Green’s one-out single in the fifth put runners at the corners. A trainer came to the mound, but the right-hander remained in the game and got Carl Crawford to hit a one-hop shot to second for an inning-ending double play.
Sierra doubled leading off the fifth and scored on Robinson Cano’s RBI groundout, giving New York a 3-2 lead.
The Yankees are the first team in major league history to score at least 13 runs in an inning twice in one season, and Tampa Bay is the first club to allow 13 runs in an inning twice in one season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. New York also scored 13 times in the second inning of a 19-8 home victory over the Devil Rays on April 18. … The 31 runs and 41 hits Tuesday night set Yankee Stadium records. … Williams’ first-inning single gave him 2,149 hits, surpassing Hall of Famer Yogi Berra for sixth on the Yankees’ career list. Williams needs four hits to tie current batting coach Don Mattingly for fifth place. … Tampa Bay RF Aubrey Huff left in the fifth with a bruised right knee. He is day to day. … The speedy Crawford also bounced into a double play in the third. Entering the game, he had grounded into one DP all season.