Final

Series: Game 4 of 4

NY Yankees won 3-1

Game 1: Monday, June 23
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Tampa Bay4
Game 2: Tuesday, June 24
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Tampa Bay9
Game 3: Wednesday, June 25
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Tampa Bay5
Game 4: Thursday, June 26
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Tampa Bay3

Yankees 4

(47-30, 27-13 away)

Devil Rays 3

(25-52, 14-24 home)

    2:15 PM ET, June 26, 2003

    Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida 

    123456789 R H E
    NYY 200000200 4 7 0
    TB 020000001 3 10 0

    W: M. Mussina (10-4)

    L: J. Standridge (0-3)

    S: M. Rivera (12)

    Giambi reaches 20-HR mark eighth straight season

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Dan Miceli didn't get into town until 3 a.m. Karim Garcia barely got to the ballpark in time to play.

    As far as the New York Yankees were concerned Thursday, the timing of their arrivals couldn't have been better.

    Miceli and Garcia both contributed to a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, enabling the Yankees to maintain their two-game lead over Boston in the AL East.

    "This is like a dream come true for me. Coming to a team like this, in first place right now," said Garcia, who was obtained along with Miceli from Cleveland in a trade Wednesday that bolstered New York's bullpen.

    Garcia didn't arrive at Tropicana Field until about 90 minutes before the game and started in left field. He went 1-for-3, singling in the seventh before Raul Mondesi snapped a 2-2 tie with a two-run homer off Jason Standridge (0-3).

    "As soon as I stepped foot in Tampa Bay, they told me: `OK, hurry up because you're going to be playing today," Garcia said.

    Miceli's debut was even more impressive.

    The reliever replaced Mike Mussina (10-4) with the tying runs on base with one out in the bottom of the eighth. He got out of the jam by getting Rocco Baldelli to fly out and Aubrey Huff to ground back to the mound.

    "I introduced myself after the game was over," Mussina said. "I told him: `That's pretty good pitching."

    Definitely not bad for a guy who didn't get a good night's sleep before the afternoon game.

    "I'm kind of struggling right now, but that's part of the game," Miceli said.

    "Everybody has a little nervousness. You've got to keep sharp, in focus and keep making pitches."

    Jason Giambi also hit a two-run homer for New York, giving him 20 or more home runs in eight consecutive seasons. The Yankees have 11 of 13 since being no-hit by the Houston Astros on June 11 and improved the league's second-best road record to 27-13.

    Mussina allowed two runs and eight hits, struck out five and walked none in 7 1-3 innings.

    Mariano Rivera worked the ninth for his 12th save in 13 chances. The Devil Rays put runners on second and third with no outs, but managed only one run on pinch-hitter Al Martin's groundout.

    The game ended with Ben Grieve taking a third called strike with a runner on third, then a scolding from Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella.

    Piniella said he asked the easygoing Grieve about the last pitch and didn't like the player's response.

    "He says, `I thought it was high.' I said, 'Why didn't you say something?' He said it doesn't matter. I said, 'What the hell do you mean it doesn't matter?' It matters to me and it matters to everybody else," Piniella said, his voice rising.

    "Look, Rivera is a tough pitcher. I'm not expecting anything. I'm expecting if you think the ball is high, you tell the umpire it's high instead of walking off to the damn dugout. ... It does matter. It matters to me, and it matters to a lot of damn people in this clubhouse. When it starts mattering to everybody, we'll start winning more games around here."

    Grieve said he was taking Piniella's harsh words "in stride."

    "I think it's the frustration boiling over. I'm not going into everything he said," Grieve said. "I don't think it was because I struck out."

    Giambi's homer off Standridge gave New York a 2-0 lead in the first. The Devil Rays countered with two runs off Mussina in the second.

    Streaking Damian Rolls drove in one of the runs when he doubled in the gap in left-center and Javier Valentin followed with a triple to the right-field corner to make it 2-all.

    Rolls went into the four-game series with just two homers in his first 392 major league at-bats and wound up going 7-for-14 with three homers and seven RBI. He's driven in 10 runs all season.

    Standridge settled in after giving up Giambi's homer to limit the Yankees to two singles over the next five innings. His bid for his first for his first major league win stalled in the seventh when he gave up a one-out single to Garcia and Mondesi followed with his 14th homer.

    Garcia started in left field and went 1-for-3.

    Plate umpire Kerwin Danley aggravated a right shoulder injury and left the game in the fourth inning.

    Game notes


    Mussina is 10-3 lifetime against Tampa Bay. ... Giambi has reached base safely in 32 consecutive games, seven shy of the career-high 39-game streak he had in 1998. ... Yankees 2B Alfonso Soriano had the day off. He had started the team's first 76 games at second base. He was replaced by Enrique Wilson. ... The last-place Devil Rays are 4-19 in June. The team record for most losses in a month is 20 on three different occasions, most recently in May 2001. ... Yankees SS Derek Jeter turned 29 Thursday. ... The Devil Rays designated LHP Mike Venafro for assignment and brought up RHP Carlos Reyes.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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