Giambi hit a go-ahead, two-run homer with two outs in the eighth
inning, and New York rallied past the Devil Rays 5-4 Wednesday
night for a much-needed victory against a surprising nemesis.
"I love being in that spot, and it's great to come through,"
Giambi said. "Hopefully, this will get us going and get us on a
little bit of a tear."
But New York fought back and improved to 5-10 against last-place
Tampa Bay this year after beginning the season 80-31 against the
low-budget Devil Rays, who began play in 1998.
Knocked out of his previous outing when he was hit in the
collarbone by a line drive, Jaret Wright settled down after a shaky
"That's the most important thing. He didn't lose his
composure," manager Joe Torre said.
Tanyon Sturtze (5-3) worked 1 1-3 scoreless innings for the win,
and Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect ninth for his 36th save in 40
tries. The Yankees remained four games behind first-place Boston in
the AL East and a half-game ahead of Cleveland in the wild-card
With Tampa Bay ahead 4-3, Joe Borowski (1-3) retired his first
two batters in the eighth before Alex Rodriguez reached out and
punched a single to center. Giambi then drove an 0-1 pitch down the
right-field line for his 27th homer.
"It was a slider that didn't slide. It stayed right there on
the inner half. It was a nice pitch to hit," Borowski said. "I
tried to blow it foul, but it stayed true right down the line."
Playing from behind and pressing at the plate, the Yankees
wasted a couple of scoring opportunities and appeared headed to
another puzzling loss.
Down by one, they loaded the bases with one out in the seventh,
and an angry Lou Piniella dispatched Devil Rays pitching coach
Chuck Hernandez to pull reliever Trever Miller.
The move paid off when Travis Harper got Derek Jeter to ground
into an inning-ending double play, leaving him 3-for-21 against the
right-hander. Jeter also grounded into a game-ending double play in
a 4-3 loss Tuesday night.
"You don't see that happen two days in a row," Torre said.
Wright left his previous start last Thursday in Seattle after he
was hit by Raul Ibanez's liner. He looked fairly comfortable on the
mound in this one, though a leadoff walk and his throwing error led
to Tampa Bay's four-run first.
"You're going to think about it," Wright said. "Once you're
out there, you've got to play the game. Everything is in the past
One out later, Sheffield pulled up while chasing Jonny Gomes'
RBI triple to right-center and left the game with tightness in his
left hamstring. He is day to day.
"It's a little tight. I feel it right now. I don't think it's
that serious," Sheffield said. "If I feel better tomorrow, I'll
get in there."
Travis Lee's sacrifice fly made it 4-0, but Piniella wanted his
team to tack on more runs the rest of the way.
"You have to against the good teams that can score," he said.
Wright hadn't given up a first-inning run in 16 starts dating to
last season with Atlanta, which was the longest current streak in
the big leagues, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
"After that, we got better movement and just backed off a
little bit," Wright said.
Staked to the early lead, Doug Waechter retired his first 10
batters before Matsui drove the next pitch over the right-center
fence to give him 21 homers this season and 68 since joining the
Yankees in 2003. The outfielder hit 332 for the Yomiuri Giants of
Japan's Central League from 1993-02.
"The feeling itself, it is the same," Matsui said through a
translator. "I don't really add the statistics that I had in Japan
and the home runs here."
But he did keep the ball as a souvenir.
"To me, it's not that important," he said. "Perhaps my father
will be pretty happy if I give it to him."
Robinson Cano singled leading off the sixth, Jeter doubled and
Matsui followed with a two-run double that cut it to 4-3. But with
runners at the corners, Giambi lined to first against Miller for an
inning-ending double play.
"We were all thinking in the back of our minds, oh God, here we
go, the Devil Rays have our number," Giambi said.
The Devil Rays fell to 3-6 on their 10-game trip. Seven of
the games have been decided by one run. Tampa Bay is 24-20 in
one-run games this year, but 8-14 away from home. ... Crawford got
his 42nd stolen base in the seventh, his seventh against New York
this season -- more than any other player. ... Cantu has 99 RBI.
Aubrey Huff holds the club record with 107 in 2003. ... The Yankees
have 34 comeback wins, 17 when trailing by at least three runs.