Yankees 7, Devil Rays 3, 1st game; Yankees 17, Devil Rays 5, 2nd game
In the opener, Duncan’s first major league homer capped a five-run sixth inning that carried New York to a 7-3 victory.
“We were swinging the bats and that made things a lot easier,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said. “We didn’t have any dry innings. We had some tired puppies out there but they didn’t give away an at-bat.”
Johnny Damon drove in four runs in the nightcap and made two great catches during a rare start in left field for New York, which moved within 7 1/2 games of the AL East-leading Red Sox. Vizcaino (8-2) became the first Yankees pitcher to win twice in a doubleheader since Lindy McDaniel on May 24, 1970, at Cleveland.
Both Duncan and Rodriguez emerged from the dugout for curtain calls after their sixth-inning drives, the first at Yankee Stadium for Duncan and just the latest for Rodriguez.
“I don’t think you could really explain it,” said Duncan, whose father and brother both reached the majors. “You get goosebumps. It’s one of those things where you’re kind of frozen. It’s your little moment right there for that brief second.”
B.J. Upton hit his third homer in two days in the opener and singled in two runs in the second game for Tampa Bay, which has lost 15 of its last 19 road games. Upton went 3-for-9 in the doubleheader and is batting .467 (15-for-32) in nine games since coming off the disabled list.
All-Star left fielder Carl Crawford of the Devil Rays left the first game with a sprained left ankle that he hurt beating out an infield single. X-rays were negative, but he didn’t play in the nightcap.
“I don’t think it’s bad,” Crawford said. “It didn’t even really swell up. It’s just sore.”
New York led 7-2 after three innings in the second game but Tampa Bay pulled within two on Josh Wilson’s sacrifice fly in the sixth. The Yankees responded in the bottom half, highlighted by Damon’s bloop, two-run double and A-Rod’s major league-leading 33rd homer of the season.
Rodriguez also doubled twice and remains on pace to be the fastest player to 500 homers.
J.P. Howell (1-4) gave up seven runs and 10 hits in five innings for Tampa Bay, which recalled him from Triple-A Durham between games.
“It’s disappointing,” Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “We definitely had a pretty good shot in that first game. The second game, it just got away fast.”
Duncan had already had a memorable day by the time he entered the nightcap in the eighth. He slapped some heads and pounded forearms with a few teammates after his first homer into the seats in left, leaving several of them chuckling about the 27-year-old’s exuberance.
“I tried to warn the guys last night when he got here that if he scored to be careful, and lo and behold I’m the first one that he tried to take out today,” said Andy Phillips, who played with Duncan at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and scored when he went deep.
Robinson Cano’s run-scoring single put New York in front 3-2 and Phillips drove in two more with a base hit before Duncan went deep against Jae Kuk Ryu (1-2). Duncan, called up on Friday, picked up his first big league hit and RBI in Friday night’s game.
Kei Igawa allowed two runs and seven hits in five innings for New York in the opener. The Japanese left-hander is 0-1 in his last six starts and hasn’t won since he threw six shutout innings in relief against Boston on April 28.
“If he keeps the game manageable like he did today, that’s a plus for us,” Torre said.
New York optioned reliever Edwar Ramirez to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after the opener and Matt DeSalvo was sent down after he started the second game. Left-hander Sean Henn was recalled from their top farm club. The Yankees also will designate backup catcher Wil Nieves for assignment once Molina joins the team. … New York DH Jason Giambi took batting practice for the first time since hurting his left foot and hopes to rejoin the Yankees by early next month. He took 20 swings in a batting cage at the team’s spring training complex in Tampa, Fla., and could start hitting on the field in the next few days. … Damon also homered in both ends of a twinbill for the Yankees last Aug. 18 at Boston. … The Devil Rays sent Jason Hammel to Triple-A Durham after he allowed two runs and three hits over four innings in the opener. … Terry Adams was the last major leaguer to earn two wins in one day, accomplishing it for Philadelphia at Cincinnati on Sept. 21, 2002. … Vizcaino leads major league relievers in wins.