Russell Martin drew a bases-loaded walk with two outs in the top of the ninth inning, giving the New York Yankees a 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night.
Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira, Brett Gardner and Eduardo Nunez also drove in runs for the second-place Yankees, who rallied from a 4-1 deficit to remain 11/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East standings.
Rookie left-hander Alex Torres (0-1) yielded the winning run in his major league debut after New York loaded the bases on Curtis Granderson’s single, an intentional walk to Nick Swisher and another walk to Andruw Jones. Martin worked Torres to a full count, fouled off a pitch and then took ball four to push Granderson across the plate.
All-Star David Robertson (3-0) pitched a perfect eighth inning, striking out two to get the victory. Mariano Rivera worked a one-two-three ninth to earn his 24th save in 28 opportunities.
The Rays wasted a nice pitching performance by rookie Alex Cobb, who allowed two runs and three hits after being called up from the minors to make his sixth major league start.
The 23-year-old right-hander limited the Yankees to Robinson Cano’s RBI grounder in the first and Mark Teixeira’s run-scoring single in the fifth before turning over a 4-2 lead to a depleted bullpen.
Sunday night’s 1-0, 16-inning loss to Boston left Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon with limited options after Cobb departed. The Yankees tied it 4-all with two runs charged to reliever Cesar Ramos in the eighth, but wasted a chance to take the lead when Derek Jeter struck out with the potential go-ahead run at third base.
After going a combined 3 for 50 in the extra-innings loss to the Red Sox, the Rays scored three times and matched their hit total from the 5-hour, 44-minute marathon in the first inning alone against Yankees starter A.J. Burnett.
Burnett allowed four runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings. The right-hander walked six, but the Rays didn’t take full advantage and stranded 10 baserunners through the first six innings.
The Yankees wasted some good opportunities of their own, stranding runners in scoring position in the fifth and seventh. Cobb prevented further damage after Teixeira’s RBI single when he got Cano to ground out to end the fifth, and Ramos preserved a two-run lead when he struck out Teixeira with runners at first and second to shut down the other threat.
Jeter went 1 for 5, moving ahead of Hall of Famer Al Kaline into 26th on the career hit with No. 3,008 on a seventh-inning single off Joel Peralta.