By FRED GOODALL
AP Sports Writer
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) _ Evan Longoria hit a go-ahead homer
and the Tampa Bay Rays beat New York 5-2 on Tuesday night to drop
the struggling Yankees into a tie for first place in the AL East.
Coupled with Baltimore’s 12-0 win at Toronto, the Yankees fell
into a tie for the division lead with the surging Orioles after
sitting atop the standings by themselves for 84 consecutive days _
New York’s longest streak since 2004.
Desmond Jennings and B.J. Upton also homered for the third-place
Rays, who pulled within 11/2 games of the Orioles and Yankees. Tampa
Bay trailed by 101/2 games at the end of play on July 18.
New York opened its largest lead of the year that day (10 games)
but is 19-26 since. The Yankees’ biggest cushion in a season in
which they failed to finish first was six games in 1933, according
to STATS LLC.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi wasn’t around to see the end of this
one. He was ejected by plate umpire Tony Randazzo in the fourth
inning for arguing after Chris Dickerson was called out on strikes.
Longoria hit a two-run shot off Freddy Garcia (7-6), wiping out
a 2-1 deficit in the third inning. Jennings and Upton delivered
back-to-back solo shots in the fifth, giving Alex Cobb (9-8) and
Tampa Bay’s bullpen all the offensive support they’d need against
the Yankees’ sputtering lineup.
Robinson Cano matched a career high for New York with his 29th
homer, a two-run shot off Cobb, who allowed four hits over seven
innings. Fernando Rodney earned his major league-best 42nd save in
The Yankees, who have lost five of six, finished with six hits.
It was the fifth consecutive games they’ve been held to six or
fewer _ their longest such stretch since going six straight from
Aug. 30 to Sept. 5, 1990.
It appeared Dickerson wanted timeout in the fourth, but Randazzo
did not grant it and Dickerson went down looking to end the inning.
Dickerson didn’t seem to like the call and moments later Girardi
came storming out of the dugout, yanked his cap off his head and
argued face-to-face with Randazzo.
Before heading back to the dugout, Girardi kicked dirt in the
Alex Rodriguez went 1 for 4 with a ninth-inning infield hit in
his second game since spending six weeks on the disabled list with
a broken left hand. Curtis Granderson returned to the starting
lineup after sitting out most of two games with a sore right
hamstring and went 0 for 3.
Cano played despite experiencing tightness in his left hip
reaching for a grounder that got past him for the game-deciding hit
during the eighth inning of Monday’s 4-3 loss to the Rays. He got
treatment following the game and again early Tuesday before Girardi
penciled him into the lineup.
The slugger has at least one hit in 13 of 14 games against Tampa
Bay this season, including the past 11 _ a stretch in which he’s
batted .438 (18 for 42) against a pitching staff that currently
leads the major leagues in ERA, opponents’ batting average and the
AL in strikeouts.
Longoria homered for the sixth time in 26 games since being
activated following a three-month stint on the disabled list with a
partially torn left hamstring. It was his 10th of the season,
coming on a 2-2 pitch after Garcia prolonged the inning with a
two-out walk to Ben Zobrist.
Jennings and Upton homered five pitches apart to begin the
fifth. Upton, who hit a solo shot off CC Sabathia in Monday’s
series opener, also doubled on a 3-0 pitch to drive in Tampa Bay’s
first run of the night.
Garcia allowed five runs and five hits in 5 1-3 innings. The
loss was the right-hander’s first since July 30, even though Garcia
had not pitched particularly well in two recent starts in which he
wasn’t involved in the decision against the White Sox and Indians.
NOTES: Cano has 22 homers and 84 RBIs in 130 career games
against Tampa Bay. … Longoria started at DH rather than his
customary spot at third base as manager Joe Maddon continues to
take precautions with the injury that sidelined the three-time
All-Star for 85 games. … Yankees LHP Andy Pettitte is set to
throw to hitters Wednesday for the first time since breaking his
left ankle in June and being placed on the 60-day disabled list.
… Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira, sidelined the past seven games with a
strained left calf, took batting practice and ran on a treadmill.
He might field some grounders Wednesday and could return to the
lineup as soon as Thursday, when the team begins a four-game series
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)