NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Yankees turned a long day into a
productive one -- at the plate and in the AL East standings.
Gary Sheffield and Tony Clark each drove in two runs during a seven-run second inning, and New York completed a doubleheader
sweep of the sinking Tampa Bay Devil Rays with a 10-5 victory
"Doubleheaders are so tough to win," manager Joe Torre said.
"I don't care what time of year it is, everything has to break
right. I think we realized that we're at the time of year now that
we have to win every game."
The Yankees won all four games in the rain-shortened series and have won five in a row overall. They extended their AL East lead
over Boston by at least a half-game, the first time they've
increased the margin since Aug. 23.
The Red Sox, trailing by three games, played at Seattle late
"You can't worry about Boston unless you're playing Boston,"
Derek Jeter said. "The bottom line is they can't catch us if we're
Mike Mussina threw eight sharp innings in a 9-1 victory in the
opener, which started with just a few hundred fans in the stands.
Yankee Stadium filled up a bit more for the nightcap, with the paid
attendance announced as 41,230.
The teams played two games because Wednesday's doubleheader was rained out. The first game Wednesday was supposed to be a makeup of Monday's doubleheader that was changed to a single night game when the Devil Rays were unable to get to New York in time for Game 1 due to Hurricane Frances.
It was still uncertain when or if the unplayed game would be
"Once we got in there and scored, I just wanted to go out there
and throw strikes as fast as I could," Sturtze said.
Jeter and John Flaherty homered for the Yankees, who outscored the Devil Rays 19-6 and outhit them 26-18 in the doubleheader. Jeter was 5-for-9 with a homer and three RBIs in the two games.
"We hadn't been hitting a great deal before this series,"
Torre said. "I know we've beaten them, obviously a lot, but it's
good for our confidence. Especially coming off the rainout
yesterday, you don't know what to expect. We certainly weren't
B.J. Upton homered in the second game for the Devil Rays, who have lost a season-high 11 straight -- their longest skid since
dropping 15 in a row from April 25 to May 10, 2002.
"Our pitching's got to get better," manager Lou Piniella said.
"We're out of ballgames before they start."
Upton made a dazzling play in the fourth, robbing Alex Rodriguez of a hit when he went deep into the hole at shortstop and fired an incredibly strong, off-balance throw to first from the outfield
grass. Jeter, standing at second after a double, flashed a big
smile, impressed by one of baseball's best prospects.
"That was nice," Jeter said. "It was a really good play."
After Upton gave the Devil Rays a 1-0 lead in the first, the
Yankees broke it open against Rob Bell (6-8) in the second, scoring
seven times on eight hits including two in the inning by Hideki
"It was just a tough situation," Bell said. "I put these guys
in a hole right away."
Bell allowed seven runs -- four earned -- and seven hits in 1 2/3 innings.
The Devil Rays got two runs back in the third and loaded the
bases against Halsey with one out in the fourth. But Sturtze came
in and got Rocco Baldelli on a shallow fly and struck out Upton to
escape the jam.
"He put not only a Band-Aid, but he put a tourniquet on the
situation," Torre said.
Halsey allowed three runs and seven hits in 3 1/3 innings.
Flaherty added an RBI single in the seventh.
Baldelli hit a two-run double in the eighth to make it 10-5.
In the first game, Mussina (10-9) allowed one run, four hits,
struck out six and walked none to win for the first time since June
"Today, he was as good as he can be," Torre said.
Rodriguez, Sheffield and Matsui each drove in two runs for the Yankees, who scored three times in the first off Dewon Brazelton
Brazelton allowed seven runs -- six earned -- and nine hits in
three-plus innings. He dropped to 0-5 on the road this season and
0-11 away from Tampa Bay in his career.
Jeter left in the bottom of the ninth in the second game after fouling a pitch off his left foot in the top of the inning. He said he's fine. ... Yankees slugger Jason Giambi was the DH for Triple-A Columbus in Game 1 of its International League playoff series against Richmond. He went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, a groundout and two walks as the Clippers lost 2-1 in 13 innings. ... Plate umpire Jerry Crawford was hit in the side of the head by a deflected pitch, forcing him to leave after the second inning of the first game. He was taken to the hospital, where a CT scan was negative. He was diagnosed with a concussion.