Rays rough up Sabathia, NY
NEW YORK - Joe Maddon was impressed with all the homers the Rays hit. David Price and a few big plays in the field, though, is what really got him excited.
Johnny Damon, Casey Kotchman, and Kelly Shoppach all connected in the third inning for three of Tampa Bay’s five solo home runs against CC Sabathia, and Price again came out on top in a matchup of these elite lefties, lifting the Rays over the Yankees, 5-1, last night.
“You talk about the homers, but the pitching and defense were spectacular,’’ the Rays manager said.
Light-hitting Elliot Johnson and Evan Longoria also homered - the 100th of his career - in Tampa Bay’s fifth straight win.
The five homers were the most Sabathia (16-7) has allowed in his career and the most a Yankees pitcher has given up since David Wells did it in 2003. The Rays’ previous high for home runs in a game this season was three.
“You never know what you’re going to see at the ballpark,’’ Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Tonight was a strange night.’’
Price (10-10) improved to 3-0 in the five times he’s faced Sabathia, pitching eight dominant innings of six-hit ball. More importantly, Price snapped a six-week skid in which he went 1-4 in eight starts.
“Almost pitched a little bit backwards from what he normally does. Threw a lot of off-speed stuff earlier in counts,’’ Shoppach said. “And it worked. He was able to throw them for strikes and get them swinging early which is how he was able to go so deep in the game.’’
Price benefited from some fine defense, too. Shoppach made a difficult tag at home on a strong relay by second baseman Sean Rodriguez to prevent a second run in the fourth. Rodriguez made a sliding stop in the eighth to start an inning-ending double play, one of two double plays that Derek Jeter hit into.
Kotchman was the first Rays player to hit the ball out of the infield against Sabathia. His fly in the third landed in the second deck in right field.
Shoppach followed with a long homer to left, the third time the Rays went back-to-back this season.
Sabathia then struck out two looking before Damon accomplished what he had done plenty of times in four seasons with the Yankees: He sent a high fly that just cleared the short porch in right field.
“It just happens,’’ said Sabathia, who went eight innings but yielded a season-high 10 hits. “I just don’t know what else to say.’’
The Yankees finally nicked Price in the fourth, when Robinson Cano singled for New York’s first hit since Jeter led off with a single. Nick Swisher walked and Andruw Jones hit a line-drive double into the right-center gap, scoring Cano.