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Rays 3, Yankees 0

The SportsXchange

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Behind 8 1/3 brilliant innings from starter Alex Cobb, the Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 3-0 on Wednesday night at Tropicana Field.

Cobb (3-1, 1.82 ERA) fell two outs short of his second career shutout, allowing only three hits and a walk while striking out seven. He received what little run support he needed on Ben Zobrist's two-run double in the fifth inning and Sean Rodriguez's sixth-inning home run, his first of the season.

Cobb recorded one out in the ninth then gave up a single to Brett Gardner, prompting Rays manager Joe Maddon to summon closer Fernando Rodney from the bullpen. After Ichiro Suzuki singled to right field to put two runners on with only one out, Rodney recorded the final two outs to secure the victory for Cobb.

The 25-year-old right-hander has been the Rays' most durable starter so far this season, pitching at least 6 2/3 innings in each of his four outings, and he has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 18 of his last 19 starts dating back to July 6, 2012.

Cobb's gem wrapped up a 5-1 homestand for Tampa Bay, a much-needed turnaround after a 2-7 road trip, and brought the Rays within one game of a .500 record. Tampa Bay won two of three against New York after sweeping the Oakland A's over the weekend.

Andy Pettitte (3-1, 2.22) pitched well for the Yankees, who have lost 13 of their last 16 games at Tropicana Field. The veteran lefty struck out 10 in six innings but fell short of the first 4-0 start of his career.

With the Rays leading 2-0 after five innings, Rodriguez crushed the first pitch he saw from Pettitte over the fence in left-center field.

Pettitte kept the Tampa Bay Rays' lineup in check for four innings before a hit batter and a defensive miscue helped Tampa Bay break through with the game's first runs.

Pettitte hit Jose Molina in the left foot to lead off the fifth. Kelly Johnson then grounded a single into right field and right through Brennan Boesch's legs, allowing Molina to advance to third and Johnson to second.

After Pettitte struck out Desmond Jennings and Ryan Roberts, Ben Zobrist came through with the run-scoring hit the Rays needed, a double to right-center field that brought home Molina and Johnson.

NOTES: Yankees 1B Kevin Youkilis (sore lower back) sat out for the third straight game Wednesday but could return to the lineup Thursday. ... Rays DH Luke Scott (right calf strain) took Wednesday off after going 1-for-4 with an RBI single in the first game of his minor-league rehab assignment with Class-A Charlotte. ... Yankees CF Curtis Granderson (fractured right wrist) took 15 swings in a batting cage Wednesday. ... In his latest attempt to keep the Rays' clubhouse loose, manager Joe Maddon brought in two penguins from the Florida Aquarium before Wednesday's game.
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