ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) _ Ichiro Suzuki hit a go-ahead two-run single in the ninth inning and the New York Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 Tuesday night.
Tampa Bay is winless in all five of Price’s starts this year. The left-hander (0-2) allowed three runs and eight hits over eight-plus innings.
Robinson Cano ended AL Cy Young Award winner David Price’s night with a leadoff single in the ninth. After Cano stole second on a pitch by Fernando Rodney that struck out Vernon Wells, pinch-hitter Travis Hafner was intentionally walked and Lyle Overbay walked to load the bases.
First baseman James Loney helped Rodney by making a sliding catch on Chris Stewart’s foul ball, but Suzuki then drove in two for a 4-2 lead on a liner to center.
David Robertson (1-0) worked a perfect eighth before Mariano Rivera got his sixth save despite allowing Evan Longoria’s leadoff homer.
The only other team to lose the first five starts made by a reigning Cy Young winner was the 1989 Minnesota Twins. They lost in Frank Viola’s first seven starts before finally winning on May 9 that year.
Suzuki singled with one out in the eighth, went to third on Jayson Nix’s hit-and-run single to left, and scored to get the Yankees even at 2 when Brett Gardner hit a grounder to second.
Tampa Bay took a 2-1 lead in the seventh on Jose Molina’s run-scoring single off Phil Hughes, who allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings.
Ben Zobrist put the Rays up 1-0 on a first inning sacrifice fly.
The Yankees tied it at 1 on Wells’ RBI single in the fourth, but Price avoided further damage by getting a fly ball from Ben Francisco and Overbay’s double-play grounder with runners on first and second with no outs.
Rays manager Joe Maddon’s effort during the current homestand to keep his team loose Tuesday featured a cockatoo, which he had in clubhouse and later on his shoulder as he held his pregame media session. In previous games, Maddon had a DJ play music in the clubhouse and a magician do card tricks, and promised a big animal finale on Wednesday night when the homestand ends.
“Snakes are out,” Maddon said. “I will not be in the clubhouse with a snake. Regardless of what people say, I’m not on board with that.”
Yankees infielder Kevin Youkilis was out of the starting lineup for the third straight game with lower back tightness. New York manager Joe Girardi expects Youkilis will also miss Wednesday’s series finale with the Rays.
NOTES: New York SS Derek Jeter will be in a walking boot for a left ankle injury when rejoins the team Thursday at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees captain found out last Thursday that he fractured the ankle for a second time in six months. … Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira (wrist) continues taking dry swings with a bat, but hasn’t started hitting off a tee. … New York RHP Mariano Rivera met with a group of wounded soldiers and veterans before the game. The closer, who is retiring after the season, is taking part in events like that in road ballparks this year. … Longoria has reached base in 34 straight games dating to last season.
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