Devil in the details: Yankees fall out of wild-card lead

NEW YORK (AP) -- Forget about the Boston Red Sox coming to town.
The New York Yankees must be thrilled just to see Tampa Bay

Carl Crawford hit a two-run double and scored three times, Mark
Hendrickson won his fifth straight decision and the Devil Rays held
off New York 7-4 Thursday night for yet another victory over the

"We have to be better. We expect more of ourselves. Tonight is
just not acceptable," Alex Rodriguez said.

Jonny Gomes and Jorge Cantu also drove in two runs apiece,
helping the last-place Devil Rays build a 6-0 lead and improve to
11-5 against New York this season.

The Yankees dropped two of three in this series -- not the way
they wanted to head into three big games in the Bronx against AL
East-leading Boston this weekend. New York remained four games
behind the Red Sox but fell a half-game behind Cleveland in the
wild-card race.

"This team tomorrow, they start scoring runs, they don't
stop," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "We need to do a better
job of controlling the game than we did tonight."

New York has lost four consecutive series against the Devil Rays
after dropping only four of the previous 38.

"You can't say we're embarrassed because they're major league
players, too," Derek Jeter said. "They played better than us. I
don't know how many times they beat us, but they deserved to win
all of 'em."

Rookie right-hander Chien-Ming Wang (6-4) returned from a
two-month stint on the disabled list and lasted five innings. After
recovering from inflammation in his right shoulder, he gave up
three runs and eight hits, dropping to 0-3 against Hendrickson this

Wang said his shoulder felt fine, but he thought it was a
mediocre performance.

"It looked like he was just trying to get his rhythm in the
first inning," Crawford said.

Danys Baez retired Rodriguez with a runner on to end the eighth,
then finished for his 35th save in 42 tries. He has seven saves
against New York this year, tying Bobby Thigpen of the Chicago
White Sox in 1990 for the most against the Yankees in one season.

"Fastball right down the middle," Rodriguez said. "I had a
great pitch to hit. I didn't come through, and that's not
acceptable. I need to do more."

Hendrickson (9-7) retired 13 straight after Jeter's leadoff
single in the first, then ran into trouble in the seventh. But he
hung on to improve to 3-0 in four starts against New York this

The former NBA forward allowed four runs and five hits in 6 2/3
innings. Chad Orvella followed with a scoreless inning.

"Knowing what they can do, I was just trying to stay focused
and make good pitches," Hendrickson said.

For the second consecutive night, the Devil Rays jumped ahead in
the first inning. Crawford doubled with one out and Cantu followed
with a double, becoming the third Devil Rays player to reach 100
RBI. Gomes added a two-out RBI single.

Crawford singled in the fifth, moved up on a wild pitch and
scored on another two-out single by Gomes.

Crawford hit a two-run double off Scott Proctor with two outs in
the sixth, and Cantu followed with an RBI double to extend the lead
to 6-0.

"We added the tack-on runs, which were big," Devil Rays
manager Lou Piniella said.

Playing without ailing No. 3 hitter Gary Sheffield, the Yankees
managed only one hit through the first six innings against a
pitcher who entered with a 6.09 ERA.

"It has no bearing," Rodriguez said. "We're good enough.
We're deep enough. We should be able to score six runs on a night
like tonight."

Hideki Matsui doubled to start the seventh, Rodriguez reached on
an infield single and Jason Giambi looped an RBI double the other
way. Jorge Posada knocked in a run with a groundout, and Ruben
Sierra's two-run homer cut it to 6-4 -- but that was as close as the
Yankees got.

Travis Lee added a two-out RBI double off Felix Rodriguez in the

Game notes
The other Devil Rays to reach 100 RBI were Aubrey Huff in
2003 and last season, and Fred McGriff in 1999 and 2000. Huff holds
the club record with 107 in '03. ... Sheffield sat out with a
strained left thigh muscle. He got hurt chasing Gomes' triple
Wednesday night, and desperately doesn't want to miss the Boston
series this weekend. "That would be devastating to me," Sheffield
said. "I should be able to come back quicker than if it was a
hamstring. I'm going to get the anti-inflammatories and see how I
feel tomorrow." ... The Devil Rays (59-82) are 31-21 since the
All-Star break. ... Baez has converted 28 of 29 save chances. ...
Tampa Bay is 6-3 at Yankee Stadium this year. ... The Devil Rays
went 4-6 on their road trip to Boston, Toronto and New York. "It's
been a real good experience for a lot of the young players. You
can't teach them this, they have to experience it. We started off
0-5 and ended up 4-6 -- you've got to be pleased," Piniella said.