ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Curtis Granderson hit a sacrifice fly in the 11th inning and the New York Yankees avoided a three-game sweep by defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 on Sunday.
Alfonso Soriano started the winning rally with a one-out double off Jamey Wright (2-2). He stole third and came home on Granderson’s fly ball to center.
Mariano Rivera, making his last regular-season appearance at Tropicana Field, received a standing ovation before getting the final three outs for his 38th save. The closer is planning to retire after this season.
Pinch hitter Alex Rodriguez opened the 10th with a single to center off Wright and went to second on Brett Gardner’s sacrifice. Rodriguez then was doubled off second after Wright grabbed a line drive by Ichiro Suzuki that appeared headed toward center field.
Rodriguez, who is appealing his 211-game suspension by Major League Baseball, was booed every time he came to the plate during the series. He went 2 for 9 with two strikeouts.
New York manager Joe Girardi had the third baseman on the bench at the start of the series finale, due to a day game after a night game. Rodriguez didn’t make his season debut until Aug. 5 after having offseason hip surgery.
Evan Longoria homered and drove in two runs for the Rays.
New York got a homer and two RBIs from Robinson Cano.
The Yankees took a 2-1 lead in the sixth on Cano’s RBI double off Alex Cobb. He was easily thrown out attempting to stretch the hit into a triple.
Longoria responded with his 28th homer in the bottom half.
Cano had an opposite-field homer to left during the fourth. Rays second baseman Ben Zobrist took away an RBI single from Lyle Overbay later in the inning when he drove to his left and then make an accurate throw to first for the inning-ending out.
Longoria put the Rays up 1-0 with an RBI single in the first. Yankees starter Ivan Nova avoided further damage by getting an inning-ending double play from James Loney with the bases loaded.
Nova allowed six hits and tied a career high with six walks in 6 2-3 innings.
Cobb gave up seven hits over 5 2-3 innings. It was the right-hander’s third start — the other two were victories — after missing two months after being struck in the head by a liner hit by Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer on June 15.
NOTES: Yankees SS Derek Jeter (strained right calf) is still expected to rejoin the team for Monday’s game at Toronto. “That’s the plan,” Girardi said. … Longoria has 23 career homers against the Yankees, his most against any opponent. … Overbay was back in the lineup after missing two games with flulike symptoms. … The Rays play a makeup game Monday at Kansas City before returning home Tuesday to start a three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels. … The announced crowd was 34,078, which was just the Rays’ third home sellout this season.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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