St. Petersburg, FL (Sports Network) – James Shields tossed 7 1/3 scoreless innings to help the Tampa Bay Rays take a 3-0 win over the New York Yankees in the rubber match of a three-game set from Tropicana Field.
Shields (10-9) gave up four hits, struck out 11, and walked one to pick up the win for the Rays, who have won eight of nine to move within one game of the AL East-leading Yankees. Rafael Soriano recorded his 30th save of the season.
Carl Crawford and Kelly Shoppach each had an RBI for the victors.
“I was pretty efficient with my pitches,” Shields said. “That’s a big series win for us.”
New York third baseman Alex Rodriguez was not in the starting lineup, but he did come on as pinch-hitter in the seventh. He struck out, though, and remains stuck at 599 homers for his career.
Outfielder Austin Kearns went 0-for-2 in his debut with the Yankees, who went 4-3 on a seven-game road trip. Kearns was acquired from Cleveland on Friday.
CC Sabathia (13-5) went 6 2/3 innings in the start, allowing three runs on eight hits to take the loss. The left-hander has lost two straight starts since winning nine consecutive decisions.
“I didn’t think he had great command of his sinker,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Sabathia. “But he found a way to keep the game close and give us a chance.”
After New York stranded runners on the corners in the top of the second, the Rays plated one run in the bottom half. Willy Aybar led off the frame with a ground-rule double to left. Following two outs, Shoppach hit a soft liner just over the glove of first baseman Lance Berkman allowing Aybar raced home on the play to make it 1-0.
The Yankees put a man on third with two outs in the top of the third, but Mark Teixeira struck out to end the threat. Tampa Bay made the visitors pay by scoring twice more in the home third. Reid Brignac singled and B.J. Upton doubled to get things started. Crawford then plated a run with an infield single. Upton scored when Evan Longoria grounded into a double play.
Shields retired nine straight batters — seven via the strikeout — before Berkman hit a one-out single to right in the sixth. Teixeira lined out and Robinson Cano grounded out to end the inning.
Derek Jeter singled with one out in the eighth, chasing Shields from the game. Chad Qualls, who was acquired by the Rays from Arizona on Saturday, came into the game and got Berkman to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Tampa Bay leads the season series with New York, 6-5…Sabathia fell to 8-4 lifetime versus the Rays…Shields improved to 3-7 in his career against the Yankees…Tampa Bay will recall pitcher Jeremy Hellickson on Monday from Triple-A Durham to make his MLB debut against the Twins…The Rays were without first baseman Carlos Pena (right foot) and outfielder Ben Zobrist (back)…Berkman went 1-for-4 in his second game with New York, which opens a seven-game homestand with the first of three against the Blue Jays starting Monday.