Bronx, NY – David Price went seven innings, B.J. Upton hit a solo homer, and the Tampa Bay Rays edged the New York Yankees, 6-4, on Friday in the opener of a three-game series.
Price (18-5) allowed two runs on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts in his first start since Sept. 2, while Fernando Rodney recorded the final five outs to notch his 43rd save of the season.
Desmond Jennings, Ben Zobrist and Elliot Johnson had an RBI apiece for the Rays, who managed just six total runs in their previous series -- a three-game sweep at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles.
With Friday's win, Tampa Bay pulled within three games of New York and Baltimore for the final AL Wild Card spot.
"We played better offensively, that's what it came down to," said Rays manager Joe Maddon. "We've been pitching well enough to win games. We finally got the hits."
CC Sabathia (13-6) gave up four runs on six hits over 6 2/3 innings and dropped his third straight decision. His last win came on Aug. 24 at Cleveland.
"I'm just not making pitches," Sabathia said. "Tonight I had two strikes a couple of times and I couldn't make the pitch to get out of the inning."
Alex Rodriguez belted a two-run, eighth-inning homer for the Yankees and Curtis Granderson had a leadoff shot in the fifth. Derek Jeter went 2-for-5 and passed Willie Mays for sole possession of 10th place on the all-time hits list.
New York and Baltimore, which fell to the Oakland Athletics on Friday, remain tied for the AL East lead.
Upton's leadoff shot gave the Rays a 5-2 lead in the eighth, but Jeter began the bottom half with a single and Rodriguez followed with a one-out homer to deep left.
After a walk to Robinson Cano, Joel Peralta was relieved by Rodney, who fanned Russell Martin and walked pinch-hitter Raul Ibanez before grounding out Granderson to end the inning.
The Rays added insurance in the ninth when Jennings ripped a one-out single off Joba Chamberlain, stole second base and crossed the plate on Evan Longoria's two-out grounder, which rolled under the glove of shortstop Eduardo Nunez.
"The error was a big play at the end," said Maddon. "It gave us a lift psychologically."
The Yankees, who went down in order in the home half -- ending when Derek Jeter fanned swinging -- grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second inning courtesy of Steve Pearce's two-out, RBI single.
The Rays, though, responded with a three-run fifth, which began with a double by Chris Gimenez.
A wild pitch and a walk by Sabathia followed, placing runners on the corners, before Johnson and Jennings delivered consecutive RBI base hits. After a wild pitch advanced both runners and a walk to Zobrist loaded the bases, Longoria plated Johnson with a double-play grounder for a 3-1 lead.
Granderson hit his 38th homer of the season in the bottom half, but Tampa Bay tacked on another run in the seventh when Johnson scored from second base on Zobrist's two-out single up the middle.
Price missed his previous start with a sore shoulder. He improved to 7-3 in 18 career games -- 17 starts -- versus New York ... The Yankees have lost each of Sabathia's last four starts ... Jeter upped his career total to 3,285 hits.