ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Alfonso Soriano hit a one-out double, stole third and scored on Curtis Granderson's sacrifice fly, leading the New York Yankees to a 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in 11 innings at Tropicana Field on Sunday.
The victory snapped New York's two-game losing streak and pushed the Yankees' record since Aug. 4 to 11-4. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, needed Boston to lose Sunday night in order to maintain a tie for first place in the American League East.
Both teams had plenty of chances to break a 2-2 tie after six innings, but the Yankees' bullpen held the Rays without a hit over the final 4 1/3 frames.
That allowed Soriano to essentially create his own scoring opportunity, as he lined a double to left field off reliever Jamey Wright with one out in the 11th, broke for third base -- his 14th steal of the season -- and scored easily on Granderson's flyout to deep center field.
Yankees closer Mariano Rivera worked a perfect bottom of the 11th to secure his 38th save of the season.
Yankees starter Ivan Nova turned in an unusual but mostly effective start, walking six but allowing only two runs in 6 2/3 innings. Nova allowed six hits and overcame the free passes by inducing three ground-ball double plays.
Tampa Bay got a solid start from right-hander Alex Cobb, who allowed two runs and struck out five over 5 2/3 innings in his third start since suffering a concussion after being hit by a line drive on June 15. But neither Cobb nor Nova factored into the decision, ultimately leaving the game in their respective relievers' hands.
The Rays struck first against Nova, as left fielder David DeJesus led off the game with a single, moved to second on a walk and came around to score on Evan Longoria's ground-ball single to left. But Tampa Bay couldn't make any more of that opportunity, as Nova induced a force out at second base and walked Wil Myers before escaping on James Loney's inning-ending double-play grounder.
The Yankees tied it up in the fourth inning when Robinson Cano launched his 24th home run of the season deep to left field off Cobb. New York went on to pull ahead in the sixth, as Ichiro Suzuki reached on a ground-ball single and scored on Cano's double to right field. Cano was thrown out trying to take third base, but the Yankees still had a chance to pile on more runs.
With the bases empty, Soriano singled and advanced to second on Yunel Escobar's errant throw to first. Cobb then intentionally walked Granderson, and both runners advanced on Eduardo Nunez's comebacker. In came lefty reliever Alex Torres, who struck out first baseman Lyle Overbay and stranded both runners.
The Rays took advantage of the opportunity, as Longoria crushed Nova's 2-2 pitch into the left-field seats for a game-tying home run, his 28th on the year.
NOTES: The Yankees are expected to activate SS Derek Jeter (strained calf) off the 15-day disabled list before Monday's series opener in Toronto. ... Rays LHP Matt Moore played catch Sunday after throwing a simulated game Saturday. The All-Star pitcher, 14-3 with a 3.41 ERA this season, said he only felt normal soreness and hopes to rejoin the Rays' rotation soon. Moore hasn't pitched since July 28 due to left elbow soreness. ... Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez was out of the starting lineup Sunday as the team attempts to keep his legs fresh despite six straight games on artificial turf, but he lined a pinch-hit single to center field to lead off the 10th inning. It was the first pinch hit of his career. ... RHP Jeremy Hellickson will be the only starter making the Rays' one-day trip to and from Kansas City on Monday. The rest of the rotation will remain in St. Petersburg to work out and prepare for a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels that begins Tuesday.