Bronx, NY (Sports Network) – Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada each drove in two runs, and New York cobbled together 6 2/3 innings from its bullpen to come from behind and down Tampa Bay, 9-5, in the rubber match of a three-game set.
Rodriguez clubbed a solo homer, the 598th of his career, and Derek Jeter had two hits, scored twice and drove in a run, as the Yankees won for the 10th time in 12 games to improve their position in the AL East.
Chan-Ho Park (2-1) earned the win with 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, as five pitchers took the hill after an injured Andy Pettitte left the game in the third inning. Mariano Rivera threw one pitch to get the final out in a non-save situation.
David Price (12-5) absorbed the loss after allowing a season-high seven runs on seven hits over five frames. He walked four and struck out three for the Rays, who had entered the series as winners in seven of their last nine games.
“I felt comfortable out there, I just didn’t have it,” said Price about his poor outing. “That’s a good team over there in that other locker room. After that first inning, we didn’t get anything else going.”
Tampa Bay struck in the first inning on an upper deck three-run home run by Carlos Pena. The visitors then got back-to-back singles from Ben Zobrist and Jason Bartlett before Gabe Kapler lined out and Kelly Shoppach bounced out to end the threat.
The Yankees answered back in their half of the frame on a two-out, two-run opposite field triple off the top of the left field wall by Cano.
Tampa Bay put two runners on with one out in the third before Pettitte left the game with a strained left groin while pitching to Shoppach.
“I really don’t remember exactly what happened,” said Pettitte of the injury. “I felt like I landed maybe a little awkward and I just felt like a burning sensation in there. As I stood there, I felt something kind of aching me a little bit. I tried to throw the warm-up pitch and felt fine when I threw it but when I brought my left leg over it didn’t feel good at all.”
David Robertson took over and missed with his second pitch to walk Shoppach to load the bases. However, the right-hander was able to avoid any damage by getting a pop up from Sean Rodriguez and a fly out from BJ Upton.
Jeter led off the home half with a single, stole second base and scored on a base hit by Mark Teixeira to tie the game.
New York scored four times in the fifth to take the lead for good. Brett Gardner drew a leadoff walk, stole second and scored on Jeter’s single to center. Jeter then advanced on a wild pitch, moved to third base on a fly out and scored on a two-out single by Rodriguez to make it a 5-3 game. After a walk to Cano, Posada delivered a two-run double to left field to push the lead to 7-3.
Nick Swisher’s two-out, run-scoring single in the sixth against Randy Choate gave the Yankees an 8-3 advantage.
Gabe Kapler’s solo home run off Boone Logan in the seventh cut the lead to 8-4 but Rodriguez slammed his long ball off Andy Sonnanstine in the bottom of the frame to make it a five-run cushion again.
Tampa Bay scored the final run of the game in the ninth off Joba Chamberlain on a run-scoring double by pinch-hitter Matt Joyce with two outs.
Jeter’s two hits moved him into a tie with Jesse Burkett for 41st place all- time with 2,850…The Yankees have won their last five “rubber” games and are 10-3 in series deciders this year…The season series is even at four apiece. Teixeira has reached base in 35 straight games, one shy of his career-high. Cano has hit safely in seven straight games…Carl Crawford of the Rays went 2-for-4 and has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games, while Evan Longoria and Bartlett extended their hitting streaks to five games…Pena is the only left-hand batter to hit a home run off Pettitte this season and he’s done it twice.