Yankees 6, Rays 2

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- Rookie Zolio Almonte had three hits, including his first career home run in the bottom of the sixth inning, leading the New York Yankees to a 6-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on Friday night.

Almonte made his first start in left field in place of slumping Vernon Wells and collected singles in his first two at-bats.

In the fifth, he added to New York's lead with a solo home run on a 0-1 sinker from Roberto Hernandez (4-8) that landed in the Yankee bullpen beyond the right-center field fence.

The home run gave Almonte hits in four straight at-bats. He recorded his first career hit with a single off Kyle Farnsworth in the ninth inning of Thursday's 8-3 Rays' victory.

The home run also earned Almonte a curtain call from the 41,123 fans and padded New York's third win in 10 games.

Almonte had a chance for a fourth hit after Lyle Overbay's RBI single scored Robinson Cano in the eighth inning, but Almonte struck out against reliever Cesar Ramos.

David Phelps (5-4) worked in and out of trouble through 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs and eight hits. He struck out four, issued one walk and threw 61 of 102 pitches for strikes.

Boone Logan struck out Matt Joyce with a runner on first for the final out of the sixth. Shawn Kelley fanned two in the seventh, David Robertson pitched a scoreless eighth, and Mariano Rivera finished up in a non-save situation.

Hernandez allowed five runs and nine hits in seven innings, falling to 1-7 lifetime against the Yankees.

Ben Zobrist and Luke Scott had run-scoring singles for the Rays, who were trying to win three straight for the first time in three weeks.

The Yankees started the game with a consecutive singles from Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki. Gardner scored on Cano's sacrifice fly, but Hernandez struck out Travis Hafner and retired Overbay.

After Tampa Bay tied the score in the third on Zobrist's infield single, the Yankees regained the lead in the bottom of the inning by manufacturing a run. Austin Romine led off with a double to left. He was sacrificed to third by Gardner and scored on Suzuki's groundout to Hernandez.

The Rays tied the score again in the fourth on Scott's RBI single to left field with one out.

New York loaded the bases on three singles in the bottom of the fourth and scored two runs -- one on a double-play grounder by Jayson Nix and the other on an infield hit by David Adams.

NOTES: Tampa Bay officially announced the signing C Nick Ciuffo, its top pick from this year's draft and the 21st overall pick. He will report to the Gulf Coast League. ... New York CF Curtis Granderson is with the team for the weekend but will head to Tampa next week to continue the next phase of his rehab from a broken bone on his left hand. So far, he has been able to play catch and lift with his lower body after having the pin removed Thursday. ... Tampa Bay LHP David Price allowed two runs and two hits in 2 1/3 innings during in a rehab assignment with Class A Port Charlotte. He struck out four of the 11 hitters he faced while throwing 29 of 49 pitches for strikes. ... The Yankees designated SS Reid Brignac for assignment and recalled SS Alberto Gonzalez from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to serve as the backup to Nix. ... The Yankees also acquired IF Brent Lillibridge from the Chicago Cubs for cash considerations or a player to be named. He had been playing at Triple-A Iowa.
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