new york – On the road at Yankee Stadium, a rookie pitcher with the ball.
No matter where they go or who they face these days, the dynamic Tampa Bay Rays keep rolling right along.
Jason Bartlett hit his latest leadoff homer in New York to begin an early beating of the banged-up Yankees, and the streaking Rays held on for a 10-6 victory Wednesday night in the opener of a two-game series between baseball’s top two teams.
“That’s just how we want to play, regardless of who we’re playing,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. “It’s more of a liberal arts form of playing baseball.”
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It was a dreadful day all around for the Yankees, who learned star catcher Jorge Posada has a broken bone in his right foot. The team said he’ll be sidelined for three to four weeks.
Already missing three other injured regulars, the Yankees also lost reserve outfielder Marcus Thames when he stepped on his own rolling bat and sprained his left ankle on a sixth-inning single.
Evan Longoria had three hits and two RBI, sending the AL East leaders to their fifth straight win. Tampa Bay stole six bases against starting pitcher A.J. Burnett – four in a four-run fourth inning – and improved to 29-11, the best record for a big-league team after 40 games since Boston had the same mark in 2002.
“This is usually a hard place to play,” Carl Crawford said. “It gives us a little confidence going into tomorrow.”
Handed a six-run cushion by the fourth, rookie Wade Davis (4-3) held the Yankees in check – although Alex Rodriguez hit his 589th home run, and Robinson Cano had four hits for New York (25-15), which has dropped seven out of its past 11.
Faster and fresher than the defending World Series champs, Tampa Bay scampered all over the bases and tagged the hard-throwing Burnett (4-2) for nine hits and four walks in 62/3 innings.
“We didn’t win it with the long ball today – we really played good baseball,” Davis said.
Ben Zobrist even scored from second base when Brett Gardner made a spectacular diving catch at the center-field fence of Carlos Pena’s eighth-inning sacrifice fly, extending the lead to 10-2.