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CC Goes the Distance in Loss to Rays

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By FRED GOODALL   AP Baseball Writer
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) _ All-Star James Shields won for the
first time in nearly a month, outpitching CC Sabathia and beating
the New York Yankees 2-1 on Thursday night.

Shields (9-8) allowed six hits, walked three and struck out six
over 7 2-3 innings in his second duel with Sabathia in 12 days. The
right-hander lost 1-0 to the major league wins leader on July 10 at
Yankee Stadium, yielding the game’s only run on an errant pickoff
throw to third base.

Sabathia (14-5) lost for the first time since June 9, ending a
streak of victories in seven consecutive starts. Slumping Evan
Longoria homered and finished with two of the five hits off the
Yankees ace. Sam Fuld drove in Tampa Bay’s second run with a
fifth-inning triple.

The loss dropped New York two games behind first-place Boston in
the AL East. The third-place Rays salvaged a split in the four-game
series, but only went 4-6 in a critical stretch of 10 straight
games against the Red Sox and Yankees.

Shields ended a personal four-game skid, winning for the first
time since a 5-1 complete-game victory at Houston on June 24. The
right-hander allowed just one baserunner past first until the
eighth, when Derek Jeter doubled for career hit No. 3,010 and
scored on Robinson Cano’s double into the right field corner.

Brandon Gomes replaced Shields and got Nick Swisher hit a
first-pitch flyball to center to end the eighth. Kyle Farnsworth
worked the ninth for Tampa Bay, earning his 19th save in 22
opportunities.

Longoria began the night just 4 for 31 in his previous eight
games. He hit his 12th homer with two outs in the first, added an
infield hit in the fourth and finished 2 for 2 with two walks _ one
intentional.

Sabathia walked four and struck out eight en route to his third
complete game of the season.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi tweaked his batting order for the
game, moving Brett Gardner from ninth to leadoff and dropping Jeter
from first to second. The change was made in part because regular
No. 2 hitter Curtis Granderson was not in the starting lineup after
fouling a ball off his right calf and also being hit in the back
with a pitch on Wednesday night.

Jeter’s double lifted him into a tie with Hall of Famer Wade
Boggs for 25th on the careeer hits list. Granderson entered the
game as a pinch hitter in the seventh and remained to play the last
three innings in center field.

Before Longoria went deep, New York pitchers had gone eight
consecutive games without allowing a home run _ the longest such
streak for the Yankees since another eight-game homerless stretch
in 1999. Sabathia hadn’t yielded one since June 19 at home against
the Chicago White Sox, a span of five starts.

NOTES: Rays RHP Wade Davis (right forearm strain) will be
activated from the 15-day disabled list on Friday and start the
opener of a three-game series at Kansas City. … Girardi said
Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez, who had right knee surgery on July 11,
had the stitches removed and continues working out in a pool. …
New York RHP Rafael Soriano pitched one inning in his second
appearance with Class-A Tampa, allowing one run and two hits. …
INF 3B Eric Chavez (broken left foot) played defense for the first
time in the same game. Both could rejoin the team next week. …
Yankees INF Ramiro Pena was released from a hospital Wednesday, two
days after having an appendectomy.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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