The Tampa Bay Rays try to beat the New York Yankees for the 10th straight time at home this afternoon and complete a three-game sweep in the process when the American League East rivals conclude their set at Tropicana Field.
Tampa's home mastery of the Yanks continued on Tuesday, as Sean Rodriguez belted a two-run homer and the Rays took advantage of some shoddy New York defense in a 7-4 win.
After Mark Teixeira's error helped the Rays win Monday's opener, the Yankees matched a season-high with three errors that led to three unearned runs for Tampa on Tuesday. New York had entered the game with the third fewest errors in the league at 36.
"They are going to have nights when they make some errors," New York manager Joe Girardi said. "For the most part, our defense has been pretty good this year."
James Shields (8-5) tossed seven innings for Tampa Bay, allowing four runs on 10 hits. Fernando Rodney earned his 24th save of the season with a flawless ninth.
"I thought it was a good game overall. Our offense did a great job and we made some pretty good plays on defense," said Shields. "Overall, it was a pretty good win."
New York starter Ivan Nova (9-3) surrendered six runs -- three earned -- on seven hits in six-plus innings to suffer his first road loss since June 3, 2011 against the Angels. He had gone 12-0 in his previous 16 outings away from Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees, who have not won in St. Petersburg since a 4-0 win last July 20, also lost a series for just the second time in their last 10 (7-2-1). The nine-game slide is the Yanks' longest road skid against one opponent since they lost 15 in a row to the Rangers from 1989-91.
Things may not get any better today, as they go up against left-hander David Price, who is vying to become the AL's first 12-game winner. Price won his third straight start on Friday against Detroit, as he held the Tigers to a pair of runs and five hits in seven innings, upping his record to 11-4, while lowering his ERA to 2.92.
Price has already beaten the Yankees twice this season and is 6-3 lifetime against them with a 4.03 ERA in 16 games (15 starts).
The Yanks will counter with righty David Phelps, who makes his third career start. Oddly enough, his last start came against the Rays back on May 9 when he got a no decision after walking four batters and allowing three hits in 4 2/3 scoreless innings.
Phelps has worked primarily out of the bullpen this season and is 1-3 with a 3.16 ERA. He will be limited to 80-85 pitches today.
"He's not completely built up," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We'll try to build him up more. You look at what Freddy [Garcia] did [on Monday] night -- we're going to do the same thing with Phelps."
Tampa has won seven of 11 from the Yankees this season.