St. Petersburg, FL – New York's Mark Teixeira is one of the best defensive first basemen in the majors. But his glove failed him Monday night, and the Tampa Bay Rays capitalized.
Brooks Conrad scored the go-ahead run on Teixeira's rare miscue in the bottom of the seventh inning after coming off the bench to deliver a game-tying RBI double, as the Rays edged the visiting Yankees, 4-3, in the opener of a three- game series at Tropicana Field.
Matt Moore (5-5) gave up three runs on nine hits and three walks over seven innings for Tampa Bay, which entered the game having dropped six of seven.
"It wasn't a big punchout night for him, but his stuff and location I thought was really good," Rays manager Joe Maddon about Moore. "It was more like a Rays kind of a win where everybody got involved and the conclusion was a better one."
The Rays extended their home winning streak against the Yankees to eight games.
B.J. Upton and Carlos Pena both homered off New York veteran right-hander Freddy Garcia, who pitched 5 1/3 solid innings in his first start since April 28. Garcia was 0-2 with a 12.51 ERA as a starter before being shifted to the bullpen, where he thrived. He posted a 1.56 ERA in 10 relief appearances.
Down 3-2, the Rays' bench manufactured the tying run. Boone Logan walked pinch-hitter Sean Rodriguez, who advanced to second on a wild pitch. David Robertson (0-3) took over on the mound with two outs and gave up Conrad's pinch-hit double off the right field wall.
Elliot Johnson then hit a chopper down the line that couldn't be reeled in by Teixeira, who was charged with his first error of the season. Johnson wound up on third base, but Desmond Jennings popped out to catcher Chris Stewart in foul territory to end the inning.
"It looked like it took a funny bounce. It almost looked like it kind of skidded," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said about the play. "I wasn't sure if it hit the bag or what it did, but it happens."
Fernando Rodney earned his 23rd save of the season with a flawless ninth.
The Yankees jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Derek Jeter doubled to begin the game and took third when Curtis Granderson grounded out to first.
Tampa Bay right fielder Hideki Matsui then misplayed Teixeira's fly ball, appearing to lose it in the roof. Teixeira was credited with an RBI double, and after a single by Alex Rodriguez, came home on Robinson Cano's grounder up the middle.
Moore escaped further damage by getting Nick Swisher to ground into a 6-4-3 double play.
The Rays erased the deficit with home runs by Upton and Pena in the fourth and sixth innings.
New York, though, regained the lead in the seventh without the benefit of a hit. Stewart drew a leadoff walk, took second on a wild pitch and eventually scored on a Granderson sacrifice fly.
Matsui left the game with tightness in his left hamstring. He played two innings in the field before Jeff Keppinger hit for him in the bottom of the second...Moore has won his last four decisions...The Rays improved to 19-14 against the AL East this season...Garcia allowed five hits and issued no walks.