Longoria, Rays down Yankees
St. Petersburg, FL – Evan Longoria capped a three-run sixth inning with a go-ahead RBI single and added a solo homer in the eighth, helping the Tampa Bay Rays take a 4-2 victory over the New York Yankees in the second tilt of a three-game set at Tropicana Field.
Ben Zobrist stroked a two-run double in the sixth before scoring on Longoria's base hit to left, as the Rays earned their eighth win in 10 games to keep pace with Boston atop the AL East after the Red Sox downed the Dodgers earlier on Saturday.
The Rays' rally made a winner out of David Price (8-5), who fanned five and held the Yankees to two runs on five hits over six solid innings. Jake McGee and Joel Peralta each spun a scoreless inning in relief before Fernando Rodney retired the Yanks in order in the ninth to secure his 30th save of the season.
New York starter CC Sabathia (11-11) surrendered three runs on six hits and two walks while striking out seven over 6 1/3 frames to absorb the loss.
"I just need to put a whole game together," Sabathia said.
Alex Rodriguez and Vernon Wells each scored once for the Yankees, who had won five straight before dropping the first two games of this series.
The highly-anticipated matchup between two of the top left-handers in the AL lived up to its billing early on, as Price and Sabathia exchanged zeros over the first four frames.
New York finally got to Price in the fifth, as Rodriguez and Wells started the frame with consecutive singles before Mark Reynolds ripped a base hit to right two batters later to load the bases with one out.
Austin Romine then fouled off three straight 3-2 pitches before taking the ninth pitch of his at-bat for a ball to force in a run for a 1-0 lead. Ichiro Suzuki followed with a high chopper toward second baseman Zobrist, whose only play was to first, allowing Wells to score for a 2-0 lead.
Sabathia breezed through the first five innings, allowing just one hit and a walk before running into trouble in the sixth when Sam Fuld smacked a leadoff single and Desmond Jennings followed with a four-pitch walk.
Zobrist then laced a double into the gap in left-center field to plate Fuld and Jennings before Longoria stroked a single to left to score Zobrist for a 3-2 edge.
"Pretty much a complete game," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Both pitchers pitched well. I think that David was outstanding, but defense and clutch hitting was the difference."
Longoria launched a leadoff blast to straightaway center field in the eighth to account for the final margin.
Price has won five straight decisions and hasn't lost since July 12 against Houston ... Sabathia fell to 1-4 in five starts against the Rays this season ... New York finished 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position ... Zobrist recorded his 76th consecutive errorless game at second base, surpassing Aki Iwamura's club record for consecutive games without an error at that position.