Final

Series: Game 3 of 4

NY Yankees leads 3-0 (as of 7/10)

Game 1: Thursday, July 8
Tampa Bay1Final
NY Yankees7
Game 2: Friday, July 9
Tampa Bay4Final
NY Yankees5
Game 3: Saturday, July 10
Tampa Bay3Final
NY Yankees6
Game 4: Sunday, July 11
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NY Yankees10

Devil Rays 3

(42-44, 19-26 away)

Yankees 6

(54-31, 32-12 home)

    4:05 PM ET, July 10, 2004

    Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York 

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    TB 200000010 3 10 1
    NYY 00020040 - 6 7 0

    W: J. Lieber (7-5)

    L: D. Brazelton (2-2)

    S: M. Rivera (32)

    Rays have lost 9 of 10 at Yankee Stadium

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Five hitters in the New York Yankees' lineup are headed to the All-Star game. Derek Jeter is still the one they want at the plate with the game on the line.

    Jeter's three-run double snapped a seventh-inning tie, Alex Rodriguez homered into the left-field upper deck and New York beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 6-3 on Saturday.

    "It's remarkable how far Derek Jeter has come in the last six, seven weeks," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "He handles pressure better than any player I've ever been around."

    Jon Lieber (7-5) gave the Yankees their best start in more than two weeks, pitching seven solid innings to win his second consecutive outing. New York has beaten Tampa Bay three straight times after dropping five of six against the New York Mets and Detroit.

    The Devil Rays lost for the ninth time in their last 10 games at Yankee Stadium and fell to 4-7 in July after going 20-6 in June. It's only the second series they've lost in their past 15.

    With the score tied at 2 in the seventh, Hideki Matsui and Miguel Cairo hit one-out singles off Dewon Brazelton (2-2). Jesus Colome walked Kenny Lofton, loading the bases, before Bernie Williams bounced into a force play at the plate.

    But Jeter lined a shot that rolled to the wall in right-center, scoring three runners to the delight of a sellout crowd of 54,680 on Old-timers' Day at Yankee Stadium. The All-Star shortstop and Yankees captain has raised his batting average from .161 on April 28 to .278.

    "That was a huge hit," Rodriguez said. "We had Colome on the ropes and let him get away a little bit. Jeet got a 2-1 pitch and put a beautiful swing on it."

    Jeter reached third on the throw to the plate and scored when third baseman Aubrey Huff booted Gary Sheffield's grounder for an error that made it 6-2.

    Tom Gordon allowed a run in the eighth, but Mariano Rivera needed just five pitches to get three outs for his AL-leading 32nd save in 33 chances. He's saved the first three games of the series after not pitching for six days.

    Rivera also moved into sole possession of 11th place on the career saves list with 315, passing Robb Nen.

    "It shows more and more when we play better teams that we lack offensively," Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said.

    Lieber became the first New York starter to last seven innings since Javier Vazquez beat Baltimore 5-2 on June 24.

    The right-hander fell behind right away when the Devil Rays opened the game with three straight singles and Huff drove in a run with a groundout. Ex-Yankee Tino Martinez, still drawing cheers every time he steps to the plate, followed with a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead.

    But Lieber settled down and pitched out of trouble the rest of the way. He gave up two runs and nine hits, striking out five and walking none.

    "I think the command was a little bit better, and that was the key to the ballgame," Lieber said. "That, and keeping the ball down. The slider was up a little bit in that first inning. I think I was overthrowing at times."

    Brazelton walked Sheffield leading off the fourth, and Rodriguez sent a 2-1 pitch about 12 rows deep into the upper deck in left. It was a mammoth shot -- much more rare than a home run into the right-field upper deck at Yankee Stadium.

    "I didn't have to look to see where it landed," Piniella said. "Put it this way, I didn't hit any like that when I played here."

    Rocco Baldelli hit a leadoff double in the eighth against Gordon and scored on Martinez's second sacrifice fly, cutting it to 6-3.

    Game notes


    The Yankees posthumously honored Hall of Fame pitcher Red Ruffing with a plaque in Monument Park. Ruffing holds the franchise record for wins by a right-hander with 231. He had four straight 20-win seasons from 1936-39, leading New York to four consecutive World Series championships. ... The Old-timers' Day festivities included four Hall of Famers: Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson and Phil Rizzuto. "The Yankees are the only ones who can do this because of the history and the championships," Torre said. ... Tampa Bay is 3-8 against the Yankees this season. ... The Devil Rays are 11-38 at Yankee Stadium. ... Sitting on 493 career homers, Fred McGriff popped out as a pinch-hitter against Rivera in the ninth.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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