By HOWIE RUMBERG AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Russell Martin hit a grand slam to help stop the
Yankees’ struggles with the bases loaded and Andy Pettitte was
dominant again at home, leading New York to a 7-0 victory over the
Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night.
Nick Swisher hit an RBI double after Raul Ibanez was walked
intentionally and the Yankees treated Rays starter James Shields to
another drubbing in the Bronx. Pettitte (3-2) pitched two-hit ball
for 7 1-3 innings, striking out 10 in New York’s ninth win in 12
Shields (6-4) was sabotaged early by the Rays’ ever-shifting
defense as New York scored two unearned runs in the first thanks to
an error by shortstop Elliot Johnson. The Rays made three errors in
The Yankees returned home from a 6-3 road trip to beat the Rays
for the third time in four meetings since Tampa Bay swept a
season-opening three-game series.
The Rays have been in first or second in the division for most
of the season despite having several key injuries, including to
Desmond Jennings and Evan Longoria. Jennings, out since May 12,
returned from the disabled list and went 1 for 4.
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon had Hideki Matsui batting fourth
for his first game in New York since joining the Rays last month.
He said he did it for the sheer drama of having the former Yankees
slugger in the cleanup spot back in the Bronx.
“We stay in the theater district when we’re in town and I
thought it might be good theater,” Maddon said before the game.
“Why not hit him fourth and have him hit a home run?”
Matsui was 0 for 4, but he was hardly alone in struggling
against the 39-year-old left-hander.
Pettitte struck out five in a row in the second and third
innings before B.J. Upton led off the fourth with a sharp, low
liner that took a short hop and hit off shortstop Derek Jeter’s
glove for the Rays’ first hit.
Carlos Pena singled in the fifth for the only other hit against
Pettitte improved to 3-1 at Yankee Stadium since his return from
retirement. In four starts here, he’s allowed just six runs (1.88
The double-digit strikeout game was the 14th of his career.
Freddy Garcia gave up two hits in 1 2-3 innings to finish the
The Yankees were 0 for 2 with the bases loaded in the first
inning Tuesday and were hitting .153 (9 for 59) overall before
Martin connected in the fourth for the team’s fourth grand slam
They scored two runs in the first when Johnson’s throw skipped
past first baseman Carlos Pena’s glove with the bases full. The
Yankees loaded them again in the fourth on a single and two walks
before Martin connected for his fourth career grand slam.
Shields was 5-12 with 4.39 ERA in 23 starts against the Yankees
and 2-7 with a 5.00 ERA at Yankee Stadium coming in. He gave up a
season-high seven runs _ five earned _ and seven hits in five
innings this time and has lost his last three decisions.
NOTES: Yankees RHP David Robertson (strained oblique) threw 35
pitches in a bullpen session at Yankee Stadium. He is expected to
throw several sessions of batting practice before going out on a
rehab assignment. He is still targeting a mid-June return. …
Yankees OF Brett Gardner (strained right elbow) had five at-bats in
an extended spring game in Tampa, Fla. There is a remote chance he
could return Sunday for the finale of a series against the Mets …
Matsui is wearing No. 35 with the Rays in part to honor former
Yankees teammate Mike Mussina. “Hopefully I can end my career with
the kind of numbers and performance that Mussina had,” Matsui
said. Mussina, who wore No. 35 most of his career, won 20 games in
his final season. … Longoria (left hamstring), who has been on
the disabled list May 1, is close to going out on a rehab
assignment. Maddon said he is doing baseball activities and is with
the team in New York.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)