ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Ichiro Suzuki's two-out, two-run single in the ninth inning against Fernando Rodney lifted the New York Yankees to a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on Tuesday night.
Ichiro (2-for-4, two RBI) was central in the Yankees' final three runs in the eighth and ninth of the comeback win that evened the three-game series. His single with the bases loaded came one pitch after first baseman James Loney's lunging catch of a Chris Stewart pop up appeared to bail out Rodney, who had walked two and allowed a hit in the inning.
Ichiro had begun the Yankees response to a go-ahead Rays rally with a one-out single in the eighth, tearing to third on a hit-and-run single to left by Jayson Nix. He scored on a Brett Gardner groundout to tie the game, 2-2.
Mariano Rivera allowed a lead-off homer to Evan Longoria in the ninth but recorded his sixth save.
New York improved to 11-8 as the Rays missed a chance to reach .500 and fell to 9-11.
Jose Molina's RBI single gave the Rays a 2-1 lead in the seventh inning. Matt Joyce led off the Rays seventh with a walk and moved to second on Loney's single to center. He scored on when Molina sprayed a 2-1 fastball to right field. The rally was further thwarted when Loney was thrown out 9-3-5 at third base as he slid into third baseman Jason Nix's foot instead of the base.
Tampa Bay jumped ahead in the first inning for the second time in the series as Ben Zobrist's sacrifice flyout to center scored Desmond Jennings, who had walked and advanced to third on Ryan Roberts' double off Brandon Hughes.
New York tied the game in the fourth inning in a rally begun when Eduardo Nunez reached first striking out on a wild pitch from David Price. He took third on a hit-and-run single by Robinson Cano and scored on Vernon Well's single to right field. Price managed to escape further trouble, however, when Lyle Overbay grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Both pitchers settled after allowing runs. Hughes was in control after the first, allowing just three singles -- none in the same inning -- until the eighth. After the fourth, Price surrendered one base runner over the next three innings until the Yankees rallied in the eighth.
Hughes allowed two runs on six hits with six strikeouts in seven innings.
Price (0-2) was charged with three earned runs on eight hits in eight innings plus one batter. He struck out five. Rodney, the struggling Rays closer allowed a run on two walks -- one intentional to pinch hitter Travis Hafner -- and a hit, with two strikeouts.
NOTES: Rays LHSP David Price, the defending American League Cy Young Award-winner, entered his fifth start of the season on Tuesday as the only member of the rotation winless. ... Yankees 1B Kevin Youkilis did not start on Tuesday against the Rays, a day after being pulled from the lineup after his back stiffened following batting practice. He has not played since removing himself from a game at Toronto on Saturday. ... The Yankees entered the game batting .190 against left-handers, better only than Pittsburgh (.169). The Yankees have committed ten errors on the last 10 games. ... 2B Ryan Roberts and SS Yunel Escobar on Monday became the first Rays middle infield combination to homer in the same game. ... OF Luke Scott is expected to undertake a rehab assigned (strained calf) all week at Class A Charlotte (Fla.). ... The Rays Ben Zobrist became the club's all-time leader in sacrifice flies (36).