May 7, 2009

Damon’s big day not enough to beat Rays

All four of Johnny Damon’s RBI came with two out, but the Rays slugged six home runs and defeated the Yankees 8-6, extending their losing streak to a Joe Girardi-era record, five games.  The Yankees (13-15) sink three percentage points below the Rays (14-16) for a virtual tie for third place in the AL East.

Quick ‘Cap:
Andy Pettitte and the Yankees found themselves in a four-run deficit after three innings.  He allowed two solo homers in the first, and then a two-run homer from Evan Longoria.  But the Yankees were able to tie the game up behind doubles from Jose Molina and Johnny Damon in the fourth, and a solo shot from Hideki Matsui in the fifth.  Pettitte gave the lead right back in the sixth when Ben Zobrist homered to left to end Pettitte’s night after the inning.

In the seventh, Jose Veras allowed the Rays to score one more on a two-out rally to extend their lead to 6-4.  The Rays’ part-time closer last season, Dan Wheeler, pitched the eighth inning but allowed Damon to tie the game back up with a two-run homer in the second deck.  Mariano Rivera, who struck out the Rays’ first three hitters last night, only could strike out the first Rays’ hitter.  He then allowed back-to-back jacks from Carl Crawford and Longoria, and the Yankees could not put anyone on base in their last chance in the ninth.  Full box score here.

Another day, another loss for the Yankees.  Rivera and tie games have never mixed well; last night was just him pitching really well on a lot of rest.  If the Yankees had maybe one or two more guys hitting like Damon right now, they would not be losing any games.

Noteworthy Performances:
- Damon went 4-for-5 with 4 RBI – a triple shy of the cycle.  In these past two series, he is batting .500 with three doubles, three homers and nine RBI.
- Pettitte’s last two outings have been his only two blemishes this season.  Going into the game, he had only allowed one home run all season.  Tonight he gave up four.

Up Next:
The Yankees play their third divisional series in a row this weekend, as they open up a three-game set with the Orioles in Baltimore.  CC Sabathia (1-3, 4.85) will attempt to halt the Yanks’ losing streak against Jeremy Guthrie (2-2, 5.05) Friday night at 7:05 p.m.

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