A third-inning home run outburst and a strong outing from David Price propelled the Tampa Bay Rays to a 5-1 win over the New York Yankees in the first game of a three-game series on Friday night. Price pitched eight innings in the win, allowing just six hits and one run while striking out four and walking two. It was a home run fest for the Rays, with each of their five runs coming on solo shots.
Tampa Bay broke a scoreless tie in the third as leadoff batter Casey Kotchman took CC Sabathia deep. The next batter, Kelly Shoppach, made it two in a row, blasting a home run to left. Finally, with two down in the inning, Johnny Damon made it three home runs in the frame as the Rays took a 3-0 lead.
Andruw Jones got one back for the Yankees in the bottom of the fourth, doubling to right-center with two down to bring home Robinson Cano. But the inning ended on the play as Nick Swisher was gunned down at home with the Yankees trailing, 3-1.
In the top-half of the fifth, Tampa Bay answered right away as leadoff batter Elliot Johnson went yard to give the Rays a three-run cushion, 4-1. Evan Longoria added the final insurance run of the night for the Rays with a solo shot of his own in the top of the eighth.
Joel Peralta slammed the door in the ninth, striking out all three batters he faced in a non-save situation. With the win, the Rays improved to 64-54 on the year. The Yankees fell to 71-46 with the loss.