By FRED GOODALL AP Baseball Writer
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) _ Chris Young settled down after a
shaky first inning to get his first win in more than a year and the
New York Mets beat the Tampa Bay Rays 11-2 on Tuesday night.
Young allowed nine hits over 5 2-3 innings, walked two and
struck out four in his second major league outing since returning
from shoulder surgery that sidelined him most of last season. The
right-hander won for the first time since beating Philadelphia 7-1
on April 5, 2011 _ his first start in a Mets uniform.
Rookie Jordany Valdespin drove in a career-high four runs, three
of them with a pair of two-out hits. The Mets, swept last weekend
by the crosstown rival Yankees, have scored a major league-leading
134 runs with two outs _ nine of them in their first appearance at
Tropicana Field in 11 years.
Young yielded a bases-loaded single to Hideki Matsui and a
sacrifice fly to Will Rhymes in the first. The right-hander, who
launched his comeback by allowing three runs and six hits in five
innings of a no-decision against Washington on June 5, worked out
of tight spots in the next two innings to keep the Mets close.
Valdespin’s two-run single off Alex Cobb (2-3) put New York
ahead 3-2 in the fifth. His two-out RBI double was the first big
blow in the Mets’ six-run seventh.
Daniel Murphy followed with a two-run single that made it 6-2.
Ike Davis finished the Rays off with a three-run homer off reliever
Cobb, losing his third straight start after winning the first
two following his promotion from Triple-A Durham, allowed six runs
and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings.
The Mets’ struggles with runners in scoring position continued.
After going 5 for 18 in such situations while being swept by the
Yankees, New York was 0 for 4 in the first two innings against
Cobb. The first run scored against the Tampa Bay starter raced home
on shortstop Elliot Johnson’s fielding error.
The Rays weren’t much better early, going 2 for 8 with runners
in scoring position in the first three innings. Only one run scored
when Matsui lined a pitch off the right-field wall with the bases
loaded in the first, and Young worked out of a jam in the second by
striking out Rhymes and Jose Molina after giving up singles to B.J.
Upton and Matt Joyce to begin the inning.
Cobb retired eight in a row before the Mets finally broke
through against the right-hander with two outs in the fifth. Omar
Quintanilla singled and Kirk Nieuwenhuis doubled before Valdespin’s
Valdespin picked up his fourth RBI of the night when he grounded
out in the eighth. Lucas Duda following with a two-out RBI single
that made it 11-2.
New York relievers Jon Rauch, Tim Byrdak, Miguel Bautista, Elvin
Ramirez and Frank Francisco shut out the Rays over the last 3 1-3
NOTES: The Mets improved to 2-5 in interleague play. The Rays
are 4-3. … With Tampa Bay’s Ben Zobrist out of the lineup because
of a bruised right hand, Sean Rodriguez moved to second base and
Will Rhymes started at third. Zobrist was injured when he was
struck in the hand by a throw while sliding into second base during
Sunday’s win at Miami. X-rays were negative and he’s day to day.
… Mets SS Ruben Tejada (strained right quadriceps) will attempt
to do some running drills on Wednesday. INF Ronny Cedeno (strained
left calf) ran around the bases, and RHP Ramon Ramirez (strained
right hamstring) threw long toss. … The Mets have agreed to terms
with C Kevin Plawecki, a supplemental first-round selection taken
35th overall in year’s amateur draft. … The Rays continue to take
a cautious approach to 3B Evan Longoria’s return. He’s been on the
disabled list since May 1 because of a partially torn left
hamstring. He ran before the game and could begin a minor league
rehab assignment this weekend.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)