ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Ticker) -- The only thing in doubt was whether or not
In the first meeting of the year between teams at the opposite end of the payroll spectrum, the
New York Yankees
hit five home runs en route to a 12-2 thumping of the
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
each had four of the 18 hits for the Yankees, who are off to a 4-0 start. They have plated at least eight runs in each game, outscoring opponents, 39-14.
"They all have power and they're hot right now," losing pitcher
said. "They scored a lot of runs in Toronto and youm saw what they did tonight."
Since 1900, only two other teams have scored at least eight runs in their first four games - the 1978
Boston Red Sox
. The Yankees have done it against teams that finished a combined 73 1/2 games out of first place in 2002.
The richest team in baseball, the Yankees already had a laugher on their hands when Giambi stepped to the plate in the top of the ninth inning. He appeared to fly out to right field, ending the frame.
running off the field, Yankees manager
jogged out to meet with umpires because Giambi's ball hit the catwalk in right-center field. The umpires huddled and correctly ruled a home run.
"You saw it had to hit something because of the way the outfielders reacted," Torre said. "Once it hits something beyond that one in the middle of the field, it's a home run."
"I hit it pretty good," Giambi said. "I didn't know what the ruling was because they seem to change it every year. But I'll take it."
Lost in the explosion was the peformance of
(1-0), who stepped to the mound for the first time since his controversial spring. He labored early but lasted eight innings.
"I struggled that first inning," said Wells, who threw 26 of his 90 pitches in the opening frame. "I didn't feel that comfortable on the mound. I was trying to aim the ball."
Wells was fined $100,000 by the Yankees for making unflattering comments about some teammates in his controversial autobiography, then angered owner George Steinbrenner by refusing to participate in a Sports Illustrated photo session.
But the burly lefthander shook off a distracting Grapefruit League season, allowing one run and seven hits with four strikeouts. He would have come out for the ninth if the Yankees had not scored five runs in the top of the inning.
"It's tough to find someone better than him when we get the lead," Torre said. "He was anxious to get out there and think about baseball."
Although he wasn't awful, Parris (0-1) took the loss for the woeful
, who have dropped four straight by a combined score of 42-20 after a dramatic Opening Day win over Boston.
Parris, a journeyman on a team with the lowest payroll in baseball, gave up three runs and nine hits in five innings.
combined to allow nine runs in three innings of relief.
"Too many pitches," said Parris, who threw 122. "You have to go deeper in the game than five innings, especially against this team."
The Yankees never trailed after Soriano and
began the game with doubles. Posada added a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead after one-half inning.
Tampa Bay got on the board in the bottom of the frame when
, but Ventura answered in the third with New York's first homer of the game, a solo shot.
The Yankees put away the game with a four-run sixth, building a 7-1 lead on Williams' monster three-run blast to right field. Williams was 4-for-6 to raise his average to .500.
"His bat is so much quicker than it was a year ago," Torre said of Williams, who batted .333 last season. "He's not jumping and trying to manufacture bat speed. He's very comfortable at the plate."
New York added five runs in the ninth. Posada started it with a solo shot and Soriano and Giambi added two-run homers.