Luke Scott drives in 3 to help Rays beat Yankees
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—Luke Scott had three hits and drove in three runs in his debut as Tampa Bay's designated hitter, helping the Rays beat the New York Yankees 8-6 on Saturday night.
The Yankees trimmed a six-run deficit to two in the ninth, even getting Alex Rodriguez to plate as the potential tying run. But Fernando Rodney came out of the bullpen to retire A-Rod on a first-pitch grounder to a perfectly positioned second baseman playing on the left of second base.
Left-hander David Price (1-0) allowed two runs and five hits over 6 1-3 innings to win for the first time since Aug. 28. The two-time All-Star walked four and struck out five.
Matt Joyce hit a solo homer off Hiroki Kuroda (0-1) for the Rays, and added a two-run single against Clay Rapada in the seventh after umpires used instant replay to overturn what initially was ruled a two-run homer for Evan Longoria.
Carlos Pena had a RBI single for Tampa Bay, building on his three-hit, five-RBI performance from Friday's 7-6 season-opening victory.
The slugger, signed this winter along with Scott to add punch to the lineup, hit a grand slam off CC Sabathia and a game-winning RBI single in the ninth off Mariano Rivera in the opener.
Longoria's fly to the wall in right field was changed to a ground-rule double. Replays showed a fan wearing a Yankees jersey reached over the railing and caught the ball, which would not have carried into the stands, with a glove. The reversal left runners on second and third, and Joyce followed with his two-run single to make it 8-2.
New York scored on RBI singles by Andruw Jones and Eduardo Nunez in the fourth. Raul Ibanez's ninth-inning sacrifice fly and Nick Swisher's three-run homer off Joel Peralta trimmed a six-run Yankees deficit to 8-6. Robinson Cano drew a walk from Jake McGee, but Rodriguez grounded out.
A 19-game winner two years ago when he finished second in Cy Young Award balloting, Price drooped to a 12-13 with a 3.49 ERA last season. He went 0-2 over his last six starts of 2011 -- the longest winless streak of his career -- and before Saturday night had gone eight consecutive starts at home since beating Boston on July 15.
Kuroda, signed as a free agent after spending the past four seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, allowed six runs and eight hits over 5 2-3 innings in his Yankees debut.
Bolstering an offense that suffered from a lack of power was Tampa Bay's biggest priority this offseason.
Although Scott is coming a year in which he batted .220 with nine homers and 22 RBIs before undergoing season-ending surgery in July to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder, he hit .269 and averaged 25 home runs per year from 2008-10 with the Orioles. Pena is the Rays' all-time home run leader and is back with the team after being away a year with the Chicago Cubs.
Scott, who drew an intentional walk as a pinch hitter in his Tampa Bay debut on opening day, lined a bases-loaded single to center in his first official at-bat for his new team. Pena's opening-day grand slam came in his first at-bat since rejoining the Rays, and his second-inning RBI single off Kuroda made it 3-0 Saturday.
Joyce, moved into the cleanup spot after going 0 for 4 with four strikeouts as the No. 9 hitter on Friday, hit his solo homer for 4-0 lead in the third.
NOTES: Rays CF B.J. Upton, who's on the 15-day disabled list because of lower back soreness, is expected to begin a minor league rehab stint on Monday. ... Yankees SS Derek Jeter was the DH, and manager Joe Girardi said A-Rod might DH or get a day off Sunday. Girardi's desire to keep his veteran players fresh during the season and the artificial turf at Tropicana Field were factors in the manager's thinking. ... New York second-place hitter Curtis Granderson and No. 6 Swisher switched spots against Price. Girardi said the change might be used on a regular basis when the opposition starts a left-hander.