By FRED GOODALL AP Baseball Writer
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) _ Jeremy Hellickson pitched seven
strong innings and Tampa Bay took advantage of sloppy New York
defense to score two runs that gave the Rays a 3-2 victory over the
Yankees on Tuesday night.
Hellickson (9-7) retired 13 of 15 batters after giving up a
two-run homer to Robinson Cano in the third inning, helping his
team stay close until the sputtering Rays offense could finally
break through against Bartolo Colon.
Robinson Chirinos and Sean Rodriguez singled, chasing Colon
(6-6) with one out in the seventh. That’s when things really awry
for New York.
Center fielder Curtis Granderson lost pinch-hitter Justin
Ruggiano’s fly ball in the Tropicana Field roof for a single off
Boone Logan that loaded the bases. It looked as though the Yankees
might escape the jam when the next batter _ pinch-hitter Elliot
Johnson _ hit a tailor-made, double-play grounder back to the
mound, but the ball glanced off Logan’s glove for an error that
enabled the Rays to tie it at 2.
Rodriguez raced home from third for the go-ahead run on Johnny
Damon’s sacrifice fly to shallow center. Granderson charged in to
make a sliding catch, scrambled to his feet but threw wildly to the
Rebounding from allowing eight runs in two-thirds of an inning
at Toronto in New York’s first game after the All-Star break, Colon
took a three-hitter into the seventh. He walked two and struck out
a season-high nine.
Hellickson won his second straight start following a four-game
losing streak, yielding two runs and five hits while walking one
and striking out seven. Jake McGee pitched a scoreless eighth and
Joel Peralta worked a perfect ninth for his first save.
Cano’s 16th homer ended a stretch of four consecutive games in
which the Yankees failed to hit a home run, the club’s longest
streak this season.
Colon limited the Rays to one hit until Sam Fuld tripled to
center with one out in the fifth and scored on Reid Brignac’s
single to right. The 38-year-old right-hander gave up a single to
B.J. Upton and walked two in the first three innings, but none of
those runners advanced beyond first base.
Hellickson regrouped after Cano’s homer to retire 12 in a row
before Brett Gardner singled and Eduardo Nunez walked with two outs
in the seventh. After a double steal, the rookie right-hander
finished his night by getting Derek Jeter to ground out.
NOTES: The Rays optioned LHP Alex Torres to Triple-A Durham and
recalled RHP Dane De La Rosa. In his major league debut on Monday
night, Torres walked Russell Martin with the bases loaded in the
ninth inning, forcing home the decisive run in a 5-4 New York
victory. … The Yankees placed RHP Sergio Mitre on the 15-day DL
with right shoulder inflammation and recalled LHP Steve Garrison
from Double-A Trenton. … New York RHP Rafael Soriano (right elbow
inflammation) allowed two runs and two hits over 1 1-3 innings in
his first game with Class-A Tampa. INF Eric Chavez (broken left
foot) was the DH in the same game. … New York RHP Ivan Nova left
a start at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre because of an undisclosed
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)