The Tampa Bay Rays try to beat the New York Yankees for the ninth straight time at home this evening when the American League East rivals continue a three-game set at Tropicana Field.
Tampa's home mastery of the Yanks continued in Monday's opener, as Brooks Conrad delivered a game-tying RBI double then scored the go-ahead run on Mark Teixeira's rare miscue in the Rays' 4-3 win.
Matt Moore (5-5) gave up three runs on nine hits and three walks over seven innings for Tampa Bay, which won for only the second time in eight tries.
"It wasn't a big punchout night for him, but his stuff and location I thought was really good," Rays manager Joe Maddon about Moore. "It was more like a Rays kind of a win where everybody got involved and the conclusion was a better one."
B.J. Upton and Carlos Pena both homered off New York veteran right-hander Freddy Garcia, who pitched 5 1/3 solid innings in his first start since April 28.
Robinson Cano knocked in a run for the sixth straight game for the Yankees, who had a modest two-game winning streak come to an end. New York, though, still leads the AL East by six games over the Baltimore Orioles and is 6 1/2 in front of the Rays.
The Yankees have not won in St. Petersburg since a 4-0 win last July 20. Another loss tonight, though, would give them just their second series loss in their last 10.
Trying to avoid that will be righty Ivan Nova, who is 9-2 with a 4.03 ERA. Nova did not get a decision on Thursday against Chicago, but he pitched well, allowing just a run and six hits in 7 1/3 innings of a 4-3 loss.
He went 3-0 in the month of June with an ERA of 1.59, while tossing four quality starts. Nova is also 12-0 with a 3.17 ERA in his last 16 road outings and is 6-0 with a 3.44 ERA in eight starts away from the Bronx this year.
Nova has been terrific in his young career against the Rays, posting a 4-0 mark to go along with a 2.82 ERA in six starts. He's already beaten them twice this season, surrendering three runs in 14 1/3 frames.
Tampa, meanwhile, will counter with righty James Shields, who has just one win over his last eight starts. Shields lost to Detroit on Thursday, as he gave up four runs and a career-high 14 hits in 7 2/3 innings to fall to 7-5 on the year, while raising his ERA to 4.04.
"You can compete all you want, and you can go deep into the game all you want," Shields said. "But the bottom line is you lost the game. I've got to do a better job."
Shields lost to the Yankees the last time he faced them and is just 5-13 lifetime against them with a 4.55 ERA in 23 starts.
Tampa has won six of 10 from the Yankees this season.