Pena leads Rays to mini-sweep of Yankees
Carlos Pena homered twice and Ben Zobrist and B.J. Upton also went over the wall as the Tampa Bay Rays battered another Yankees ace and beat New York 8-6 Thursday night for their sixth straight victory.
Tampa Bay hung the first loss of the season on Andy Pettitte (5-1), a day after battering A.J. Burnett in a 10-6 victory to open the two-game series.
"This ballpark didn't treat us kindly last year," Rays manager Joe Maddon. "It was important to show that we can win here. It's important in regards to the mental factor."
Jason Bartlett led off with a double, Carl Crawford followed with an RBI single and then Zobrist homered in the first Thursday at Yankee Stadium. Just like that, it was 3-0.
New York twice fought back to tie the game, but Crawford singled and Zobrist added a sacrifice fly in the fifth to make it 6-4. Pena blasted a solo home run an inning later to spell the end for Pettitte and in the eighth victimized Chan-Ho Park with another homer.
"For me personally, I felt we haven't thrown the ball well the last couple of games, so that's frustrating," Pettitte said. "We're scoring runs. If we lose, it's because our pitchers are not doing the job."
James Shields (5-1) got sharper while pitching into the eighth inning and Tampa Bay improved to a remarkable 17-4 on the road and 30-11 overall. The Rays swept the two-game series between the clubs that began the day with the best records in baseball.
"Their starting pitching has been outstanding. They have power. They have speed, they are an outstanding team," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
The Yankees (25-16) tried to rally in the bottom of the ninth. Derek Jeter smacked a double off Soriano to score Nick Swisher and Juan Miranda, but the Tampa Bay reliever recovered to get Brett Gardner to ground out to end the game.
Designated hitter Miranda was a bright spot for New York in just his seventh game of the season. He hit a two-run homer in the second with Robinson Cano aboard and came across the plate to make it 4-4 on a Randy Winn sacrifice fly in the fourth.
Both clubs engage in inter-league play beginning Friday. Tampa Bay visits lowly Houston (14-26), while the Yankees play a subway series against the New York Mets (20-22).
With files from CBCSports.ca