ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Tampa Bay right-hander James Shields survived a rocky fourth inning and stuck round just long enough Monday - 124 pitches over eight innings - to limit the New York Yankees to five hits in a 4-3 win.
Chris Gimenez drove in the winning run in the eighth inning, singling just past second baseman Robinson Cano's outstretched glove after Ryan Roberts singled off David Robertson with two outs and stole second.
The Yankees hit Shields - literally and figuratively, hard and soft - in the fourth when they scored all their runs on four of their hits.
Cano led off with a double into the right-field corner and watched Alex Rodriguez's broken-bat grounder dribble past Shields. Cano then took third as the ball rolled beyond shortstop Elliot Johnson, playing deep in the hole. A-Rod was in the lineup for the first time since fracturing his left hand July 24.
Eric Chavez's fly to left scored Cano and Raul Ibanez tripled past a diving Ben Francisco in right to tie it 2-2. And when Shields took a Russell Martin liner off a foot and failed to cover first, Ibanez scored when Jeff Keppinger fielded the ricochet but lost the race to the bag.
Left-hander C.C. Sabathia has won three of 17 starts against Tampa Bay since signing with the Yankees after the 2008 season. Before that, he was 7-1 against the Rays.
Sabathia broke a couple of Rays bats in the second inning when they scored their first run. Keppinger's cracked-bat single drifted to left center, Francisco hit a routine single to left and, one out later, Gimenez's broken-bat looper to right center sent Keppinger home.
B.J. Upton made it 2-0 in a hurry in the third, sending Sabathia's 3-and-1 pitch far over the left-center field wall for his 17th home run. The Rays tied it 3-3 in the fifth when Upton and Ben Zobrist singled and pulled a double steal. Evan Longoria followed with a sharp grounder to shortstop Derek Jeter. He appeared to have a play at the plate but took the safer out at first as Upton scored.
NOTES: The Yankees had gone 18-18 during Rodriguez's absence. ... Shields worked into and out of a second-inning jam, walking the bases loaded before striking out Ichiro Suzuki. Shields didn't allow a hit until Cano's double in the fourth. ... Keppinger singled to open the Rays' eighth, but pinch-runner Rich Thompson was thrown out trying to steal second and Rays manager Joe Maddon was tossed after arguing the call.