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Hall's sacrifice fly carries Devil Rays over Yanks

4/13/2003

NEW YORK (AP) -- History took a hiatus at Yankee Stadium on
Sunday, shoved aside by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

The perennial patsies capitalized on a pair of New York blunders
for a 2-1 victory that prevented the Yankees from achieving the
best start in the 100-year history of the franchise.

At 9-1, the Yankees had tied the best start ever, set by the
1988 team. No Yankees team has ever gone 10-1 at the start and
Tampa Bay made sure it stayed that way.

In a rally fueled by an error by catcher Jorge Posada and a wild
pitch by Juan Acevedo, Toby Hall hit a sacrifice fly that delivered
the winning run in the ninth inning.

"You're just looking to hit it hard some place,'' Hall said.
"You're trying to make contact against a guy who's throwing
90-plus miles per hour. The first pitch, I tried to hit to the
train station. Then I gave myself a chance.''

Hall drove in the run with a long fly to left and reliever Lance
Carter (3-0) made the run stand up with a 1-2-3 ninth inning,
ending a Yankees' five-game winning streak on a day when Yankees
starter Roger Clemens was bidding for his 296th career victory.

The Yankees made two crucial mistakes setting Tampa Bay's
winning rally in motion.

After Bernie Williams tied the scorer with an RBI single in the
eighth, Marlon Anderson opened the ninth with a single against
reliever Acevedo (0-1).

Damion Easley bunted and both runners were safe when Posada
mishandled the ball.

"When I picked it up and went to throw it, the ball came out of
my hand,'' Posada said. "It was weird. I can't explain it. I
thought I might have a play at second base when I looked. But then
I was going to get the batter and I didn't get anybody.''

Then came the wild pitch, putting runners on second and third
with none out. The Devil Rays were in business and Hall made sure
they cashed in.

"There's not much room for error when you play good teams,'' he
said.

Tampa got its first run against Clemens in the third when Easley
opened with a double and scored on a single by Rey Ordonez. The RBI
gave Ordonez a team-leading 10 for the season.

Ordonez also singled in the fifth and is 7-for-16 lifetime
against Clemens, who struggled at times.

"It wasn't as easy for him as it's been in earlier starts,''
manager Joe Torre said. "He kept us in it.''

Clemens worked seven innings, allowing seven hits. He struck out
six and walked three and left trailing 1-0.

Nick Johnson opened the Yankees eighth with a single against
reliever Seth McClung. Left-hander Bobby Seay relieved but walked
Jason Giambi. Then Williams, who left the bases loaded against
starter Victor Zambrano in the fifth, delivered a single, scoring
Johnson.

Seay and Carter retired the next three batters, preventing
further damage.

"It looked like we were going to score a bunch and then it just
stopped,'' Torre said.

Zambrano stranded seven runners over the first five innings. He
allowed three hits, walked six and struck out two before turning
the lead over to the bullpen in the seventh.

"He knows how to pitch,'' manager Lou Piniella said. "He
doesn't get rattled. He's a pitcher. The younger guys should watch
that.''

Game notes
Posada threw out runners trying to steal in each of the
first two innings. ... Tampa Bay rookie OF Rocco Baldelli, batting
.400 with 11-game hitting streak, did not start after striking out
four times against Clemens a week ago. ... Alfonso Soriano's
third-inning double ended an 0-for-11 hitless streak. ... Tampa Bay
1B Travis Lee left the game in the third inning with sore ribs.