By FRED GOODALL AP Baseball Writer
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) _ Curtis Granderson backed a solid
pitching performance by Freddy Garcia with a two-run homer, leading
the New York Yankees to a 4-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on
Garcia (8-7) scattered eight hits, struck out seven and walked
none over 6 2-3 innings. The right-hander worked out of tight spots
with runners in scoring position four times and reliever Boone
Logan bailed him out of a fifth.
Granderson homered off David Price (9-8) in the first inning.
David Robertson pitched a 1-2-3 eighth for the Yankees, and Mariano
Rivera added a perfect ninth in a non-save situation to finish the
Price, who is 20-6 all-time against AL East opponents, allowed
two runs and six hits in 7 1-3 innings. He walked two, struck out
five and hit Granderson in the back with his final pitch of the
The second-place Yankees won for the fourth time in five games,
remaining 11/2 games behind Boston in the AL East. Third-place Tampa
Bay has lost six of eight to fall a season-high eight games off the
pace in the division.
The Rays have been shut out in three of their last seven games
and 10 times overall _ nine since June 1.
Price allowed a home run to Granderson for the second time this
season and a left-handed batter for only the fourth time in his
career. Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury went deep against the 25-year-old
lefty last week and Philadelphia’s Chase Utley homered off Price in
Derek Jeter singled leading off the game, collecting career hit
No. 3,009 _ one shy of tying Hall of Famer Wade Boggs for 25th on
the all-time list _ off the same pitcher who yielded his 3,000th on
July 9 at Yankee Stadium. Granderson followed with his 26th homer
to give Garcia all the support he would need.
The Rays stranded runners in scoring position in four of the
first five innings, including the fifth when Johnny Damon singled
and advanced to third on Casey Kotchman’s third hit _ a two-out
double. Evan Longoria hit a long drive to center that Granderson
retreated to catch just before crashing into the wall.
Garcia struck out Matt Joyce, Longoria and Sean Rodriguez to get
out of jams in the first, third and fourth.
Eduardo Nunez’s two-run single off Cesar Ramos gave the Yankees
a 4-0 lead in the ninth.
Notes: Yankees manager Joe Girardi hasn’t ruled out moving LF
Brett Gardner into the leadoff spot and dropping Jeter into the
two-hole against right-handed starters with 3B Alex Rodriguez out
of the lineup after having surgery on his right knee. Rodriguez is
working out in a pool as part of his rehab program. … Price has
allowed a home run in four consecutive starts for the first time in
his career. … Rays RF Ben Zobrist was not in the starting lineup
after fouling a pitch off his right calf on Tuesday night. … New
York IF Eric Chavez (broken left foot) went 4 for 5 as the DH in
his second game with Class-A Tampa. He will play defense on
Thursday. RHP Rafael Soriano (right elbow inflammation) is
scheduled for his second rehab appearance in Thursday’s game. Both
could rejoin the Yankees next week. … Girardi said RHP Ivan Nova,
who hurt his right ankle in a start at Triple-A
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday, was feeling better, although
he’ll miss his next scheduled start after being placed on the 7-day
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)