AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK (AP) _ David Price struck out eight over five scrappy
innings to become the AL leader in wins and the Tampa Bay Rays beat
the New York Yankees 7-3 on Thursday night to avert a three-game
series sweep.

Price finished his night by retiring two of the Yankees’ most
dangerous hitters with the bases loaded. Alex Rodriguez struck out
after an 11-pitch at bat and Robinson Cano grounded out in six
more, ending New York’s best threat to cut into a four-run lead.

CC Sabathia struck out 12 and matched a season high with 121
pitches for the Yankees, who lost for the fourth time in their last
14 and went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position to lower their
average in such situations to .218.

The Yankees got the tying run to the plate with two outs in the
eighth inning. Pinch-hitter Raul Ibanez singled in a run against
Joel Peralta to make it 5-2, bringing up pinch-hitter Eric Chavez,
who grounded out to first with two on.

Russell Martin added a solo shot in the ninth for New York.

Price (8-3) never seemed to find a rhythm against the Yankees.
He walked four and gave up one run and three hits in his shortest
appearance since lasting only three innings at Boston in his second
start. But he stranded seven runners in those five innings _ four
in scoring position.

His 38-pitch fifth inning _ as harrowing as it was _ may have
been his best.

Chris Stewart hit a leadoff single, Derek Jeter walked and
Curtis Granderson struck out before Teixeira walked, loading the
bases for Rodriguez. He began swinging outside the batter’s box as
the theme from “Jaws” played and the Rays huddled on the mound.

Fans stood and cheered, then got louder with each pitch
Rodriguez fouled off as he worked the count full. After A-Rod
fouled off five of them, Price got him to swing and miss on a
breaking ball that curved into the far lower corner of the strike
zone, and Rodriguez stormed back to the dugout, talking to himself
as boos rained down.

With the air let out of the stadium, Cano grounded out to second
to end the inning. Cano fell to 1 for 12 with the bases full this
season. Rodriguez is 1 for 10.

Earlier, Rodriguez made a two-base throwing error during the
Rays’ two-run third inning, sailing the ball over Teixeira’s head
at first base on Elliot Johnson’s one-out grounder The miscue led
to two unearned runs, with Ben Zobrist singling home Johnson and
scoring on B.J. Upton’s sacrifice fly for a 3-1 lead.

The Rays scored twice in the ninth, too. Nick Swisher mishandled
Drew Sutton’s double in right, allowing Matt Joyce to score, and
Johnson doubled home Sutton.

Sabathia (7-3) got the worse end of the untidy pitchers’ duel.
He allowed three earned runs, seven hits and a walk in seven

With the Yankees, Sabathia has won three of his 16 starts
against the Rays. He was 7-1 against in 11 starts against them
before signing with New York before the 2009 season.

Sabathia outpitched Price in May for the first time in six
career matchups between the All-Star lefties, but Thursday night
represented a return to the previous results.

Sutton hit a two-run double into the left-field corner in the

Jose Lobaton singled in the Rays’ first run, in the second. The
Yankees tied it in the bottom half when Swisher came home on a
groundout by Stewart after taking third on a wild pitch.
NOTES: The start of the game was delayed 26 minutes by rain,
during which fans could take in an intensely bright rainbow that
appeared beyond the center-field scoreboard, along with a faint
secondary rainbow outside it and a few rarely seen narrower bands
of color called supernumary rainbows inside the main one. … The
Rays are set to make their first appearance at Miami’s new ballpark
on Friday. They’ll have RHP Jeremy Hellickson going up against
Marlins righty Ricky Nolasco. … Mets RHP Johan Santana makes his
first appearance since pitching the first no-hitter in team
history, going up against the Yankees and RHP Hiroki Kuroda in the
opener of the first Subway Series of the season. This one is
located by the 4 and D trains, in the Bronx. … Former Manchester
United goalkeeper Raimond van der Gouw was on the field to watch
batting practice before the game. It was the first major league
baseball game attended by the Dutchman, who played for United from
1996-2002. … Rays SS Johnson made a fine diving stop on Cano’s
grounder in the first inning, popped to his feet and made an even
better throw to retire him by a step. He also bobbled a grounder
for an error in the first. … Yankees starters had been 4-0 with a
1.64 ERA in the last five starts, their last full turn of the

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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