St. Petersburg, FL – Ichiro Suzuki and Steve Pearce scored on Elliot Johnson's throwing error in the seventh inning, as the New York Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 6-4, to avoid a three-game sweep.
Russell Martin hit a solo homer and knocked in three runs for the Yankees, who lead the AL East by one game over the Orioles. Alex Rodriguez added an RBI.
New York starter Hiroki Kuroda (13-10) gave up four runs on eight hits over six innings. The Japanese right-hander had lost his previous two starts.
"You don't want to get swept here," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. "We want to continue to try to play better and we had an outstanding game."
Luke Scott hit a solo homer for the Rays, who sit 2 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the division. Ben Zobrist had two RBI.
Matt Moore (10-9) allowed six runs -- four earned -- on eight hits over 6 1/3 innings. He struck out nine and walked one.
With the score tied at four, the Yankees scored twice in the seventh. Andruw Jones and Pearce hit back-to-back singles to start the inning. Suzuki, pinch-running for Jones, and Pearce moved up one base on a sacrifice bunt. Kyle Farnsworth came in from the bullpen and got Derek Jeter to hit a grounder to second baseman Johnson, who went home with the ball. The throw was wild and two runs crossed the plate on the play, making it a 6-4 game.
"We made some mistakes on defense," said Rays manager Joe Maddon. "That's why they won the game. That's it."
David Robertson tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief and Rafael Soriano pitched a perfect ninth to secure the victory, notching his 36th save.
"You look at the job the bullpen did...just outstanding," continued Girardi.
The Rays got on the board in the first after Sam Fuld singled, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and raced home on Evan Longoria's single.
New York scored three runs in the fourth to take the lead. Jeter hit a bloop single to shallow center field and Robinson Cano walked. Rodriguez and Martin followed with consecutive RBI doubles to make it a 3-1 contest.
But Tampa Bay put a two-spot up in the fifth to tie the game. Fuld walked and Desmond Jennings singled to put men on the corners with two outs. Zobrist cleared the bases with a triple to right-center field. Longoria flied out to end the inning.
Martin and Scott homered for their respective teams in the sixth, making it a 4-4 contest.
The Rays lead the season series by a 9-6 margin ... Tampa Bay recalled catcher Stephen Vogt and pitcher Dane De La Rosa from Triple-A Durham on Wednesday ... The Rays went 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven.