NEW YORK — B.J. Upton and Carl Crawford each drove in two runs in a seven-run sixth inning, and the Tampa Bay Rays knocked around CC Sabathia in his much-anticipated rematch with David Price and beat the Yankees, 10-3, last night.
Price (18-6) labored through six innings but Sabathia (20-7) struggled even more. The Rays beat New York for the second straight day, splitting the four-game set and pulling within a half-game of the Yankees in the AL East.
The victory gave Tampa Bay a 10-8 season series edge — the first tiebreaker to decide the division if the teams are all square after 162 games.
Yankees reliever Javier Vazquez tied a big league record by hitting three straight batters in the seventh inning as the Rays added two runs without getting a hit. The Dodgers’ Jeff Weaver was the last do it, nailing three Atlanta Braves on Aug. 21, 2004.
With the game well out of hand — and maybe concerned about retribution — Yankees manager Joe Girardi emptied his bench for the eighth inning. He even gave up the designated hitter spot, which would have put Vazquez up eighth.
Ten days ago Sabathia and Price showed why they’re leading candidates for the AL Cy Young Award, each tossing eight scintillating scoreless innings in a game the Rays won, 1-0, in 11 innings.
In the sequel, neither was as sharp.
Sabathia took a 3-1 lead into the sixth, having thrown 76 pitches and given up six singles. But the Rays were relentless.
Crawford beat out an infield hit and Evan Longoria doubled. After a strikeout, five straight batters reached. Rocco Baldelli tapped a ball up the third base line for an RBI hit and Willy Aybar had an RBI single. Kelly Shoppach walked to load the bases before Sean Rodriguez walked on a full-count pitch.
That gave the Rays a 4-3 lead and ended Sabathia’s outing. Upton greeted Joba Chamberlain with a two-run ground-rule double, and Crawford drove in two runs with his second single of the inning.