Yankees 21, Devil Rays 4

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NEW YORK (AP)—Ah, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Just what a struggling club full of stars needs to get back into contention for a playoff berth.

New York had 25 hits, reaching 20 in consecutive games for the first time in more than 100 years in a 21-4 rout of the Devil Rays on Sunday. On Saturday, the Yankees had 20 in a 17-5 win that finished off a day-night doubleheader sweep.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said. “Even in batting practice you don’t get hits every time you swing the bat.”

Shelley Duncan homered twice, including a three-run drive that capped a 10-run fourth inning, and Alex Rodriguez, batting with sunglasses on a sunny afternoon, hit his major league-leading 34th homer and No. 498 of his career. Hideki Matsui, Bobby Abreu and Robinson Cano also homered to give the Yankees hit six home runs in a game for the first time in two years.

Matsui tied his regular-season high with five hits, and every Yankees starter had a hit, a run and an RBI. Rodriguez pushed his big league-leading RBIs total to 99 in 97 games plus the suspended contest against Baltimore.

The Yankees, a season-best five games over .500 and 7 1/2 games behind AL East-leading Boston, took three of four from the Devil Rays, hitting .408 in the series with 49 runs, 62 hits and 11 homers. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Yankees franchise last had back-to-back 20-hit games on Aug. 23 and 25, 1902, when the team was playing in Baltimore.

“I think after a doubleheader it was impressive,” Rodriguez said. “After a doubleheader, I was wondering how we were going to respond.”

New York is 9-3 since the All-Star break, playing two series with Tampa Bay around one with Toronto, and is scheduled for 16 more games against teams with losing records before a trip to Cleveland on Aug. 10.

“When you have a big day like this, you can’t feel content,” Duncan said.

With the score 3-all, New York broke open the game with 10 runs in the fourth. Cano tripled leading off, and the Yankees made it 10-3 on six RBI singles and a throwing error by catcher Dioner Navarro.

“After we got a couple of runs to get back in it, we were talking about putting up a zero in that inning,” Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

Duncan’s first homer came off reliever Casey Fossum and made it 13-3, and his second was a leadoff drive off Shawn Camp in the sixth. Music from “The Natural” played as Duncan rounded the bases.

“It’s a crazy experience,” Duncan said. “You kind of get frozen in the moment.”

When he came to bat with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, he was greeted with chants of “Shel-ley! Shel-ley!”

The brother of St. Louis outfielder Chris Duncan and the son of Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan, Shelley also was cheered out of the dugout when he hit his first major league homer in Saturday’s opener. He made his major league debut Friday night and had an RBI single in New York’s 14-4 loss.

Andy Pettitte (6-6) won his 12th straight decision against the Devil Rays, improving to 13-1 against the Devil Rays. Despite a season-best eight strikeouts, it was a mostly unimpressive outing for the left-hander. He gave up eight hits, including an upper-deck homer to Carlos Pena leading off the second, but became the first Yankees starter to win since Chien-Ming Wang on July 14. He struggled to stay loose during the Yankees’ long innings at bat.

James Shields (8-6) lost for the sixth time in nine starts, allowing 10 runs, 10 hits and four walks in 3 1-3 innings. Eleven of his final 14 batters reached base.

“It’s embarrassing. It’s absolutely embarrassing,” Shields said. “This wasn’t us this weekend. We’re better than that.”


Shields is on pace for well over 200 innings this year, which would make him the third in the Devil Rays’ 10-season history to do so. … The 10-runs fourth was the Yankees’ highest-scoring inning since they got 10 last Sept. 4 at Kansas City. … Maddon expects injured OF Carl Crawford (left ankle) to play Tuesday. The Rays are off Monday. … Jonny Gomes struck out four times. … Matsui, who has nine homers in 17 games, had five hits in Game 3 of the 2004 AL championship series. … Cano was a double short of the cycle. … The Yankees’ previous game with six homers was July 20, 2005, at Texas. … The Devil Rays used five pitchers and threw 216 pitches in a game that lasted 3 hours, 50 minutes. … Sean Henn, recalled from Triple-A before the game, took over for Pettitte to start the seventh and batted because Duncan went to first base, pushing Andy Phillips to third in place of Rodriguez. Henn struck out without a swing his first big league at-bat. He was the only Yankees player without a hit.

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