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Rays rout Yankees to spoil Vazquez return

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Reuters) - The Tampa Bay Rays crushed the New York Yankees 9-3 on Friday, spoiling the return of Yankees pitcher Javier Vazquez.

Carlos Pena and Willy Aybar both hit two-run homers off Vazquez, who gave up eight runs in five-plus innings in his first appearance for New York since Game Seven of the 2004 American League Championship Series when the Yankees lost to Boston.

He had returned to the Yankees in the offseason after spending five seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Chicago White Sox and the Atlanta Braves.

"The first three innings, I was making good pitches and being aggressive," Vazquez told reporters. "And then, I didn't make good pitches after that."

Rays' winning pitcher David Price held the Yankees to three runs in a career-high seven-plus innings.

"Had to be the best I've ever seen him," said Rays manager Joe Maddon.

Maddon was particularly impressed with the variety of pitches the left-hander threw.

"Great fastball command, high velocity, and then he started adding in his curve, his slider and his changeup," said Maddon.

All nine Rays starting batters recorded at least one hit.

"That was beautiful to see," Maddon said. "We just got it going on one at-bat after another."

Pena's homer gave Tampa Bay its first runs in a five-run fourth inning and Aybar delivered his homer in the sixth when the Rays added four more.

Alex Rodriguez tripled to drive in New York's first run, then scored on a throwing error in the fourth.

The Yankees scored another run in the eighth and had the bases loaded when Maddon decided to pull Price and bring in Lance Cormier to face New York's Nick Swisher.

Swisher struck out swinging at a curveball to end the inning.

"With a lineup like that they're never legitimately out of a game," Cormier said.

"You don't want it to snowball, because that's when it becomes tough to go out there and put the fire out."

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Peter Rutherford and Ian Ransom)

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