Yankees Top Devil Rays To Rise Past .500


Sunday, July 15th 2007, 4:48 pm
By: News On 6


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) _ Derek Jeter hit a two-run homer, Andy Phillips snapped an eighth-inning tie with an RBI single and the New York Yankees rallied past the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 7-6 on Sunday to climb above .500 for the first time in more than three weeks.

Phillips also made a diving catch at first base with a runner on second in the eighth, starting an inning-ending double play that preserved a one-run lead. Mariano Rivera wriggled out of a two-on, none-out jam in the ninth for his 426th career save.

Jeter homered off starter Edwin Jackson to finish a four-run fifth inning that erased a 3-0 deficit. Phillips had an RBI triple in the fifth and put the Yankees ahead for good with his eighth-inning single off Gary Glover.

After falling behind 5-4 on Carlos Pena's two-run homer off Ron Villone in the seventh, New York (45-44) moved above .500 for the first time since June 22. The second-place Yankees cut Boston's lead to nine games in the AL East, the first time they've been within single digits since June 19.

Robinson Cano made it 5-all in the eighth with a sacrifice fly off Casey Fossum (5-8), and Jeter put the Yankees up 7-5 with an RBI infield single later in the inning.

Luis Vizcaino (5-2) retired the only batter he faced and got the win. Kyle Farnsworth pitched the eighth and Rivera worked the ninth for his 13th save in 15 opportunities for the Yankees, who won three of four in the series.

Tampa Bay's Akinori Iwamura blooped a single to start the ninth and Carl Crawford reached on catcher's interference against Jorge Posada. After Brendan Harris failed to bunt the runners over, he grounded into a double play that left Crawford at second. Pena then popped out to end it.

Pena's homer was his 22nd of the season. He also had an RBI single off Yankees starter Mike Mussina, who trailed 3-0 after also yielding run-scoring singles to B.J. Upton and Crawford in the first two innings.

Ty Wigginton, who was 4-for-4, trimmed New York's lead to 7-6 with an RBI double off Farnsworth in the eighth.

Jackson entered with the highest ERA (7.23) among all active starters with at least 50 innings pitched this season.

He walked Jeter in the first, allowed singles to Melky Cabrera in the second and Hideki Matsui in the fourth, and might have gotten through New York's four-run fifth unscathed if Upton hadn't misplayed Phillips' line drive to center field into an RBI triple.

Upton, moving to his left, overran the ball, which whizzed past him and rolled all the way to the wall, allowing the first Yankees run to score. Wil Nieves followed with an RBI double and Jeter finished the fifth with his seventh homer of the season for a 4-3 lead.

Mussina, who left with a 4-3 lead, gave up three singles and two walks during a five-batter span and fell behind 2-0 in the first. Crawford's RBI single made it 3-0 in the second, but Tampa Bay's inability to take full advantage of its opportunities eventually caught up with Jackson.

The Devil Rays stranded six runners and had three thrown out on the bases while going 4-for-11 with men in scoring position against Mussina, who yielded three runs and a season-high 11 hits in six innings.

Jackson allowed six hits and four runs while walking two and striking out six in six innings.

Notes: Yankees manager Joe Torre said he had lunch with owner George Steinbrenner on Friday. Torre, in the final year of his contract, said his future was not discussed. According to Torre, when they were talking about the second half of the season, Steinbrenner told him, ``We have to start winning.'' ... Torre said 1B Jason Giambi (left foot) is expected to start working out this week at the Yankees' spring training complex. There is no timetable for Giambi's return. ... Pena's 12-game hitting streak matches the longest of his career. ... Attendance was announced as 36,048, giving the Devil Rays consecutive sellouts at home for the first time in franchise history.