The New York Yankees have played nine straight series at Tropicana Field without winning any of them.
The Tampa Bay Rays have taken 13 of the last 16 home meetings as part of that run heading into Friday night's opener of a three-game set between these AL East rivals.
New York (28-18) hasn't captured a series at Tropicana since winning two of three April 9-11, 2010. The Rays (24-22) outscored the Yankees 11-5 with a 5-1 edge in homers in taking two of three at home in the lone 2013 series between these clubs April 22-24.
Tampa Bay star Evan Longoria is batting .397 during a career-high 16-game hitting streak that is three shy of Jason Bartlett 's club-record run in 2009. Longoria has reached base in all 25 games since going 0 for 4 against New York on April 24, hitting .386 with 19 RBIs and 23 runs scored in that span.
Longoria isn't surprised that the injury-plagued Yankees are leading the powerful AL East.
"They are a team that's playing as a team," Longoria told the Rays' official website. "They've figured out ways to win. They've been throwing the ball really well. Those are the teams that are really scary.
"Take us in 2008. Nobody knew who we were. But we played really well together as a team and figured out how to win."
New York has used unknowns such as David Adams in its lineup, with the 26-year-old homering twice as the club lost two of three at Baltimore this week.
"He's played extremely well," manager Joe Girardi said. "He's done everything we've asked, offensively, defensively, he's been very, very good for us."
The Yankees are trying to avoid their first three-game slide after falling 6-3 on Wednesday. One bright spot was Curtis Granderson going 3 for 3 with his first homer in his seventh game back after starting the season on the disabled list due to a broken right forearm.
"I liked how he was swinging the bat and I just felt it was a matter of time to start getting some hits and he swung the bat great tonight," Girardi said.
Granderson, however, is a career .197 hitter at Tropicana Field for his lowest mark at any current AL ballpark. He could turn that around Friday since he's a career .436 hitter (17 for 39 with three homers) against Tampa Bay starter Roberto Hernandez (2-4, 5.24 ERA).
Hernandez has posted an 11.34 ERA in losing his last four outings against New York, and Robinson Cano is 11 for 23 against the right-hander.
Tampa Bay owns the majors' second-worst bullpen ERA at 4.80. Closer Fernando Rodney blew his fourth save to tie for the most in baseball in Wednesday's 4-3, 10-inning defeat at Toronto."It's been kind of difficult," manager Joe Maddon said. "That was another one that got away. Everybody is doing their best, they're trying. It's just not working out."
On the mound for New York will be right-hander David Phelps (2-2, 3.83), who is 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA in four starts. Phelps, who has allowed two runs over 13 2-3 innings in his last two starts, has yielded one run over 10 1-3 career innings against the Rays, although he has never faced Longoria.
|New York Yankees|
|May 17, 2013||Andy Pettitte||15-Day DL||Strained left trapezius muscle|
|May 16, 2013||Andy Pettitte||Day-to-Day||Left game - tight left trapezius|
|May 16, 2013||Chris Stewart||Day-to-Day||Left groin injury|
|May 06, 2013||Eduardo Nunez||15-Day DL||Left ribcage strain|
|May 05, 2013||Eduardo Nunez||Day-to-Day||Left game - tightness in left ribcage|
|May 03, 2013||David Robertson||Day-to-Day||Sore left hamstring|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|May 16, 2013||David Price||15-Day DL||Left triceps strain|
|May 15, 2013||David Price||Day-to-Day||Left tricep tightness|
|May 08, 2013||Brandon Gomes||15-Day DL||Strained right lat|
|May 04, 2013||Yunel Escobar||Day-to-Day||Left hand contusion|
|April 27, 2013||Jose Molina||Day-to-Day||Knee|
|April 25, 2013||Yunel Escobar||Day-to-Day||Hamstring|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Another injury marred a New York Yankees ' victory.
Outfielder Curtis Granderson broke the knuckle on his left pinky finger in the Yankees' 9-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi had no official timeline for how long Granderson will be out, but indicated it could be a minimum of four weeks.
"It is what it is," said Granderson, who will see a hand specialist in New York on Monday. "You can't change it right now, you've got to move forward."
Granderson broke the knuckle getting hit by Cesar Ramos ' pitch in the fifth. After later scoring, he was replaced defensively by Ichiro Suzuki in the bottom of the inning.
Granderson missed the first 38 games this season with a broken right forearm, the result of a hit by pitch in his first at-bat at spring training.
"Another bump in the road," Granderson said.
Granderson said at this point he was told surgery will not be required.
"It's sad," Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano said. "It's really tough. He's one of those guys you're going to miss. Hopefully he gets back soon."
David Phelps (3-2), who retired his first 13 batters before James Loney hit a one-out double in the fifth, allowed four runs and six hits in 7 2-3 innings. He left in the eighth after he was hit on the right forearm by a drive up the middle by Ben Zobrist .
X-rays were negative, and Phelps did not rule out making his next start.
"It's a little sore," Phelps said. "See how that feels tomorrow morning will be a bigger thing. I'll be fine."
The Yankees have been hit hard by injuries this season. Derek Jeter , Alex Rodriguez , Andy Pettitte , Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis are among the players on the disabled list.
"I'm happy that we won the game, but you lost a really good player," Girardi said. "That's never a good thing."
Brett Gardner , Lyle Overbay and Jayson Nix each drove in two runs for the Yankees.
Gardner made it 5-0 with a two-run homer off Roberto Hernandez (2-5) during the fourth. The Yankees took a 3-0 lead in the second on Overbay's two-run double and an RBI single by Nix.
Tampa Bay slugger Evan Longoria went 0 for 4 and had his career-best 16-game hitting streak end.
Nix walked with the bases loaded, Chris Stewart had a run-scoring single and Cano picked up an RBI when he was hit by Ramos' pitch as the Yankees went ahead 8-0 in the fifth.
Matt Joyce had an RBI double during the Rays' three-run sixth.
Nix tripled and scored to put the Yankees up 9-3 on a wild pitch in the seventh.
After falling behind 3-0 in the third, the Rays intentionally walked Cano with runners on first and second and two outs. The move proved successful when Hernandez got an infield pop fly from Vernon Wells .
Hernandez gave up five runs, six hits and three walks in four innings. He was coming off a start last Saturday against Baltimore where he allowed five runs and eight hits over two innings.
"Pitching won the game for them and not for us," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I thought we had some good at-bats, but they did beat us on the mound. We have to pitch better to win."
Tampa Bay's Matt Moore will look Saturday to become the fifth-youngest pitcher since 1916 to start a season 9-0 exclusively as a starter. The 23-year old left-hander will go against Vidal Nuno (1-1).
According to the Rays, if Moore gets the win Saturday, only Ken Holtzman (1967), Livan Hernandez (1997), Roger Clemens (1986) and Jered Weaver (2006) will have accomplished the feat at a younger age.
NOTES: Maddon said AL Cy Young Award winner David Price , who went on the 15-day disabled list May 16 with a left triceps strain, is getting well. "I don't have any kind of finish line there yet," Maddon said. ... The Yankees are 11-5 since May 8.