Rays Hit Five Solo Home Runs Off Yankees’ Sabathia Who Loses Two in Row

 
Rays Hit 5 Solo HRs Off Sabathia, Price Dominant in Rays’ 5-1 Win
Over Yankees

By Associated Press
     Aug. 12 (Washington Post) -- NEW YORK — Be certain, 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 New
York Yankees 5-1 Friday night.
      "You talk about the homers, but the pitching and defense
were spectacular," the Rays manager said.
     With a full moon looming over the famed Yankee Stadium
frieze in right field, 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 for the Rays, who began a six-game trip
against the Yankees and Red Sox hoping to close a big gap in the
AL East, 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."
     The first inning should have felt familiar to Price, though.
Derek Jeter led off with a single against the lanky lefty. Hit
No. 3,034 of Jeter's career came with none of the fanfare that
accompanied his three knocks the last time he faced Price at the
ballpark in the Bronx. Jeter's second hit on July 9 was a home
run for the milestone 3,000th.
     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 DPs that Jeter hit into.
      "What a throw by Sean. Holy cow," Shoppach said of the
relay home.
     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.
     The only other time Sabathia gave up three homers in an
inning was May 1, 2007, against Toronto when he was with
Cleveland. He hadn't given up more than one home run in a game
this season.
      "It just happens," Sabathia said. "I just don't know what
else to say."
     Sabathia wasn't the only pitcher to give up five homers
Friday. Chicago's Carlos Zambrano also gave up five in a loss to
the Braves.
     Sabathia followed his worst start of the year — seven runs
in six innings against Boston — by going eight innings and
yielding five runs and a season high-tying 10 hits. He struck out
seven and did not walk a batter.
     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.
     Swisher tried scoring from first but Rodriguez was on the
money with the relay and Shoppach blocked Swisher from getting a
hand in to touch the plate. Although home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi
was already calling Swisher out, Shoppach bounded up and tagged
Swisher, keeping the score 3-1.
      "All I kind of had to do was sit on the plate and make sure
he didn't touch it," Shoppach. "I knew he didn't touch it. That's
why I got up, just to make sure everybody was on the same page."
     Maddon put righty-swinging Johnson in the lineup as a "best
guess" for beating Sabathia. Johnson, who had struck out in 12 of
his previous 22 at-bats — including his first Friday — proved his
skipper right. He led off the fifth with a homer to left to
restore the three-run lead.
     Joel Peralta struck out the side in the ninth.
     NOTES: Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez homered in his first at-bat
for Class-A Tampa, his first rehab game. He was the DH and also
doubled and struck out. ... Rays RHP Alex Cobb (right hand
discomfort) had his surgery to remove a blockage in the area of
his first right rib postponed because he had a reaction to
medication he was taking. ... Maddon said John Jaso (right
oblique strain) is progressing well in his rehab. "He's been
swinging the bat well. ... Sounds like he's on schedule." ...
Kotchman is batting .447 (17 for 38) with four HRs and eight RBIs
in his last 10 games.
     Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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