Ichiro hits two-run single in ninth as Yankees edge Rays

Associated Press
4/23/2013 10:30:46 PM
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Struggling Ichiro Suzuki came up big for the New York Yankees.

Suzuki hit a go-ahead two-run single in the ninth inning and the Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 Tuesday night.

"I haven't been able to do much, but hopefully things like this will help me get past it," Suzuki, who is hitting just .220 this season, said through a translator.

Robinson Cano ended AL Cy Young Award winner David Price's night with a leadoff single in the ninth. After Cano stole second on a pitch by Fernando Rodney that struck out Vernon Wells, pinch-hitter Travis Hafner was intentionally walked and Lyle Overbay walked to load the bases.

First baseman James Loney helped Rodney by making a sliding catch on Chris Stewart's foul ball, but Suzuki then drove in two for a 4-2 lead on a liner to centre.

"We put some tough at-bats on some really tough pitchers," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Tampa Bay is winless in all five of Price's starts this year. The left-hander (0-2) allowed three runs and eight hits over eight-plus innings.

"I thought he threw the ball really well tonight, so if he throws the ball like that and we had scored four runs tonight, he walks away and feels like he was fantastic," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "But we don't score enough runs and he doesn't feel as good about himself. That's just how this baseball thing works."

The only other team to lose the first five starts made by a reigning Cy Young winner was the 1989 Minnesota Twins. They lost in Frank Viola's first seven starts before finally winning on May 9 that year.

A frustrated Price spent just about one minute talking with reporters after the game, saying that there is no satisfaction from what was called a better start and that he wanted to remain in the game.

"We're still 0-5 when I pitch, I don't feel good," Price said. "I want to be in that game. It's like it's my game to lose."

David Robertson (1-0) worked a perfect eighth before Mariano Rivera got his sixth save despite allowing Evan Longoria's leadoff homer.

Suzuki singled with one out in the eighth, went to third on Jayson Nix's single to left, and scored to get the Yankees even at 2 when Brett Gardner hit a grounder to second.

"I just had a feeling I could make it there," Suzuki said. "It was a steal and I was just running. I didn't see where he hit the ball but I heard it, and luckily when I looked up I saw the ball in front of me."

Tampa Bay took a 2-1 lead in the seventh on Jose Molina's run-scoring single off Phil Hughes, who allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings.

"I felt like I had to pitch well," Hughes said. "Price wasn't going to continue the way he'd been throwing. I knew he was going to be tough, and I though the game was over in the seventh after making that bad pitch (to Molina). But thankfully the guys fought back hard and got us the win."

Ben Zobrist put the Rays up 1-0 on a first-inning sacrifice fly.

The Yankees tied it at 1 on Wells' RBI single in the fourth, but Price avoided further damage by getting a fly ball from Ben Francisco and Overbay's double-play grounder with runners on first and second with no outs.

Maddon's effort during the current homestand to keep his team loose Tuesday featured a cockatoo, which he had in clubhouse and later on his shoulder as he held his pregame media session. In previous games, Maddon had a DJ play music in the clubhouse and a magician do card tricks, and promised a big animal finale on Wednesday night when the homestand ends.

"Snakes are out," Maddon said. "I will not be in the clubhouse with a snake. Regardless of what people say, I'm not on board with that."

Yankees infielder Kevin Youkilis was out of the starting lineup for the third straight game with lower back tightness. Girardi expects Youkilis will also miss Wednesday's series finale.

NOTES: Price has given up six leads over his last three starts. ... New York SS Derek Jeter will be in a walking boot for a left ankle injury when rejoins the team Thursday at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees captain found out last Thursday that he fractured the ankle for a second time in six months. ... Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira (wrist) continues taking dry swings with a bat, but hasn't started hitting off a tee. ... Rivera met with a group of wounded soldiers and veterans before the game. The closer, who is retiring after the season, is taking part in events like that in road ballparks this year. ... Longoria has reached base in 34 straight games dating to last season.

Ichiro Suzuki (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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