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DEVIL RAYS 11, YANKEES 4

Mussina bruises thumb in loss to Devil Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Mike Mussina and the New York Yankees got a scare just over a week away from the playoffs.

Mussina was hit on the glove hand by Carl Crawford's liner and left the Yankees' 11-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the fifth inning yesterday.

Yankees manager Joe Torre went to the mound after Crawford's hit and immediately removed Mussina (14-7), who allowed six runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. Mussina is in line to pitch the third game of the first-round playoff series, and the Yankees said Mussina sustained a mild bruise at the base of his left thumb.

``My thumb is OK," Mussina said. ``It's a little sore. It won't be a factor."

New York has lost three of four since clinching its ninth straight AL East title, endangering home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs. Alex Rodriguez went 0 for 3, extending his slump to 4 for 28. He popped out with the bases loaded to end the fifth.

Yankees center fielder Johnny Damon went 0 for 5 in his return after missing three games with a cut on his left hand. Robinson Cano hit a solo homer for the Yankees and went 2 for 4, raising his average to .341.

Ty Wigginton had a two-run single during a six-run fourth against Mussina and added a solo homer for the Devil Rays (60-95), who became the fifth team to lose 95 games overall with a winning record at home (41-39).

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