ST PETERSBURG, Florida (Reuters) - Starting pitcher James Shields dominated the New York Yankees to give the Tampa Bay Rays a 3-0 victory on Sunday and deny Alex Rodriguez his 600th home run.
The 6-foot-4 right-hander struck out 11 batters in 7 1/3 scoreless innings and allowed just four hits as the Rays moved within a game of the Yankees for the American League East lead.
"It was a huge series, especially here at home," Shields told reporters. "We struggled at home the first half of the season, and we're really trying to focus on getting that home-field advantage back. I think a lot of teams don't like coming into (here) and playing."
The Rays (65-39) have won eight of their last nine, including two of three from New York (66-38), to ignite the division race.
Rodriguez was not in the starting lineup and struck out in his lone pinch-hit at-bat in the seventh, leaving him a run shy of becoming the seventh player to reach the 600 mark.
Kelly Shoppach hit an RBI single off New York ace CC Sabathia in the second inning and Tampa Bay added two runs in the third when Carl Crawford had an RBI single.
New Tampa Bay reliever Chad Qualls made his debut in the eighth inning with one man on base and set up an inning-ending double-play. Closer Rafael Soriano pitched the ninth for his 30th save of the season.
Lance Berkman went 1-4 in his second game since being acquired by New York.
(Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Ed Osmond/Ian Ransom)