Luke Scott drives in 3 to help Rays beat Yankees

Topics: From the Wires,

Luke Scott drives in 3 to help Rays beat YankeesTampa Bay Rays shortstop Reid Brignac knocks down a single hit up the middle by New York Yankees' Derek Jeter during the first inning of a baseball game in St. Petersburg, Fla., Saturday, April 7, 2012.(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)(Credit: AP)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — 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.

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