3-1/2 Stars: Hughes, Tex, A-Rod, Molina

March, 21, 2012
The Yankees defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 5-2 on Wednesday afternoon at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Fla., upping their Grapefruit League record to 10-9.

After going scoreless through five innings against a series of Rays relievers and trailing 2-0, the Yankees got on the board in the sixth while the starters were still in there, tied the game up in the seventh, and scored three runs in the top of the ninth to put them ahead for good.

Our stars of the game are:

* Starting pitcher Phil Hughes, who went five innings, giving up two runs on three hits, with three strikeouts and one walk. Hughes only made one mistake -- a cutter to Matt Joyce in the second inning that Joyce smacked over the center-field wall for a two-run home run. Other than that, Hughes was sharp -- as he has been all spring thus far -- and looks like he belongs in the Yankees' rotation.

* Mark Teixeira, who had a double and a walk in three plate appearances on Wednesday. His walk in the fifth inning loaded the bases with one out, and allowed Raul Ibanez to drive home the Yankees' first run with a ground-out to first. Teixeira is now hitting .269 so far this spring.

* Alex Rodriguez, who also had a double and a walk in three plate appearances on Wednesday. His ground-rule double came just prior to Teixeira's walk in the fifth inning, and put a runner on third. Rodriguez is hitting a torrid .345 this spring.

And a half-star goes to catcher Gustavo Molina, who hit a home run in the ninth inning, when the Yankees scored those three runs to put them on top.
Kieran Darcy is an ESPNNewYork.com staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
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Masahiro Tanaka
13 2.77 141 136
BAJ. Ellsbury .271
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146