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Wells Hits 3-Run Double to Lift Yankees to 7-5 Victory Over Rays

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June 23 (Bloomberg) -- Vernon Wells hit a three-run double to lift the New York Yankees to a 7-5 Major League Baseball win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Wells, 3-for-33 in his previous nine games, pinch-hit for Chris Stewart with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh inning yesterday at Yankee Stadium.

“Through his struggles, I think his at-bats against lefties were still pretty good,” manager Joe Girardi told reporters. “We just liked the matchup. Vern’s been doing it for a long time in big spots.”

Wells’ hit bounced above the right center wall where it hit a fan’s glove. A fan interference ruling held Wells to a double, though the umpires rules that all three runners could score.

“It was good to hit a ball and it not land in somebody’s glove,” Wells said. “And it came at a great time.”

Zoilo Almonte, who played left field in place of Wells, was 1-for-2 with two walks and three runs batted in. The previous night, he was 3-for-4 with a home run.

C.C. Sabathia (8-5) allowed five runs on six hits and struck out two in seven innings. Mariano Rivera got his 26th save after giving up one run and striking out one in the ninth inning.

Joel Peralta (1-4) allowed three runs on one hit in 1/3 inning.

The Yankees (41-33) are in third place in the American League East, 2 ½ games behind the Boston Red Sox (45-32) who lost 10-3 to the Detroit Tigers last night. The Rays (38-37) share last place in the division with the Toronto Blue Jays, six games back.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nancy Kercheval in Washington at nkercheval@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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