Nady breaks tie with seventh-inning single for Yankees

NEW YORK -- Derek Jeter did everything he could Saturday to help the New York Yankees gain ground in their quest for another postseason appearance. He collected six hits and made a couple of nice plays in the field.

And after New York split a doubleheader with AL East-leading Tampa Bay, he gave a blunt assessment of the Yankees' chances with 14 games left.

"We can't afford to lose any more games," Jeter said.

Xavier Nady hit a tiebreaking single in the seventh inning and New York rallied to beat the Rays 6-5 after Tampa Bay won the opener 7-1 behind James Shields' eight shutout innings.

Tampa Bay finished the day with a two-game division edge over Boston, which split a doubleheader with Toronto. The Rays franchise has never won a doubleheader in 13 tries.

"We put ourselves in a position to win, but like I said, we made mistakes that we usually don't make," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

New York is almost certain to miss the playoffs for the first time since 1993. The Yankees are nine games behind wild card-leading Boston with 14 games remaining.

Bobby Abreu hit a solo homer in the opener and Wilson Betemit went deep in the nightcap for New York, which opened its final homestand at Yankee Stadium.

"It was a long day for everyone involved," New York manager Joe Girardi said. "It was a day we saw a lot of good things and a day we saw some bad things."

Four New York relievers combined to throw 5 2/3 innings after Sidney Ponson struggled in the makeup of Friday night's rainout. Damaso Marte (1-3) pitched a scoreless seventh, Joba Chamberlain worked the eighth and Mariano Rivera got three outs for his 34th save in 35 opportunities.

Rivera allowed pinch-hitter Evan Longoria's RBI single with two outs before Justin Ruggiano grounded out. Longoria returned to action in the opener after missing more than a month with a broken wrist, and hit a bases-loaded single.

"It's like riding a bike," he cracked between games.

Ben Zobrist hit his second career grand slam for Tampa Bay, but committed a crucial error in the loss.

Zobrist's fourth-inning slam made it 4-1. A pair of fielding miscues let New York take the lead in the seventh.

After Jeter reached on a one-out single, Bobby Abreu followed an easy grounder to shortstop that Zobrist threw into right field. Jeter scored when Gabe Gross had trouble picking up the ball.

J.P. Howell (6-1) then struck out Alex Rodriguez, but Nady hit a 3-2 pitch from Grant Balfour into center field to give New York a 5-4 lead.

"A lot of fastballs, and fortunate enough I was able to sneak one in there," Nady said.

Abreu added an RBI single in the eighth for the Yankees.

Shields (13-8) allowed five hits, walked none and struck out six to earn his first win in eight career starts against New York. He also improved to 1-3 with a 6.35 ERA in five games at Yankee Stadium, which is being replaced by a new showplace across the street.

"It's good to end on a good note," Shields said.

Mike Mussina (17-9) threw five shaky innings and first baseman Jason Giambi committed an unseemly error that led to another run.

"We gave them two or three extra outs and they capitalized on that," Girardi said. "When you do that it's tough on the pitcher."

A sellout crowd of 54,088 was mostly silent as New York sputtered against Shields, who is 2-1 with a 2.43 ERA in his last four starts. There was an occasional smattering of boos but the fans seemed mostly resigned to their team's poor play.

Shields set a career best for wins and also became the first Tampa Bay pitcher with two seasons of more than 200 innings. Ruggiano went 3-for-4 with two RBIs.

Longoria went 2-for-5 in his first game since he was hit by J.J. Putz's pitch on Aug. 7. His two-run single off Mussina in the fifth inning gave Tampa Bay a 5-0 lead.

Longoria also made an outstanding diving stop and strong throw on Nady's two-out grounder to third base with two on in the sixth.

The Rays pushed across two runs in the sixth. Zobrist hit a sacrifice fly and Ruggiano scored when Giambi threw Carlos Pena's grounder over the head of reliever Dan Giese covering first.

Game notes
Mussina struck out seven to give him 2,800 career Ks, passing Cy Young (2,798) for 19th on the career list. ... It was Ruggiano's first career three-hit game. ... LHP David Price, the top overall pick in the 2007 draft, and OF Jonny Gomes joined Tampa Bay after Triple-A Durham lost in the International League playoffs Friday night. RHPs Mitch Talbot and Jeff Niemann also were promoted and will join the team on Monday in Florida. ... New York recalled RHPs Phil Hughes and David Robertson from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Hughes could start Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox.