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Updated: Sunday, April 13, 2003 5:58 PM EDT
MLB RECAP
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
2 10 0
New York Yankees
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
1 5 1
W Carter (3-0)
L Acevedo (0-1)
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TAMPA BAY 2, NY YANKEES 1
 

BRONX, New York (Ticker) -- An unlikely team denied the New York Yankees what would have been the first 10-1 start in the franchise's storied history. But the Yankees only have themselves to blame.

An error by catcher Jorge Posada on a bunt and a wild pitch by closer Juan Acevedo set up a go-ahead sacrifice fly by Toby Hall in the ninth inning as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays posted a 2-1 victory over New York.

The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for the Yankees (9-2), who matched the best start in franchise history with a 5-4 win over the Devil Rays on Saturday.

But the Yanks squandered numerous opportunities on Sunday, going 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and leaving nine on base.

After tying the game, 1-1, on an RBI single by Bernie Williams in the eighth inning, the Yanks failed to score more despite having runners on first and second and none out. Hideki Matsui , who had the game-winning single in the ninth inning of Saturday's win, popped out, Posada fouled out to the catcher and Robin Ventura grounded out to second.

Reliever Lance Carter (3-0) retired both Posada and Ventura and struck out two of the three batters he faced in the ninth for his third win, more than half of Tampa Bay's total.

"We've got a good bullpen and this was a great one for us to win here," Carter said. "They've beaten us three times, but we gave them their only two losses so I think that's pretty good for a young team like we have."

The Devil Rays snapped the tie in the top of the ninth against Acevedo (0-1). Marlon Anderson led off with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice by Damion Easley and Easley reached when Posada mishandled the bunt.

"I picked up the ball, went to throw it and it just came out," Posada said. "It's just one of those days. It's going to happen."

Posada then reacted slowly to a low and outside pitch from Acevedo and the runners advanced to second and third as the ball rolled to the backstop. Hall followed by lofting a fly ball to left field and Anderson scored easily as Matsui's throw went to third.

"After I threw the wild pitch, I still thought I was going to get out of it," said Acevedo, who has assumed the role of closer in Mariano Rivera 's absence. "I thought I threw a good enough pitch to get him (Hall) to pop it up. Unfortunately, he was able to get a sacrifice fly on it."

The Yankees also felt the absence of injured shortstop Derek Jeter in the third inning when Tampa Bay scored its only run off starter Roger Clemens , who beat the Devil Rays last Sunday and was seeking his 296th career win.

Easley led off the third with a double and scored when Rey Ordonez hit a grounder that skipped past rookie shortstop Erick Almonte , who made a helpless stab at the ball after he moved over slowly to field it. Ordonez was credited with an RBI single, but Almonte admitted to misjudging the speed of the grounder.

"The ground ball took off on me," Almonte said. "It was coming at me and then it seemed to pick up some momentum and went away from me. I thought it was coming at me."

Ordonez also singled in the fifth and is 7-for-16 lifetime against Clemens, who threw 115 pitches over seven innings and allowed seven hits.

Tampa Bay starter Victor Zambrano pitched six scoreless innings despite walking six. He allowed just three hits after being roughed up for five runs in 5 1/3 innings in a 10-5 loss to the Yankees on April 6.

"Toby (Hall) called a really good game today," Zambrano said. "I walked too many guys but I kept them off the scoreboard. Toby really stayed on me."

"We've been together since Single A, so I know how to push his buttons to get him on track," Hall said. "He has four quality pitches. He just needs confidence to throw them and stop nibbling at the corners."

The Yankees had golden opportunities to break through against Zambrano in the third and fifth innings. In the third, Alfonso Soriano led off with a double and Nick Johnson walked. But Jason Giambi grounded into a double play and Williams flied out to center.

Soriano singled with two outs in the fifth and Zambrano walked Johnson and Giambi to load the bases. But Williams grounded out to second to end the inning.

Before Williams' RBI single in the eighth, the Yankees were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Johnson opened the inning with a single off Seth McClung and Bobby Seay relieved and walked Giambi. Williams then lined a single to left and Johnson raced home as left fielder Al Martin 's throw sailed to the third base side.

"Well, we certainly had our chances there and I thought we would get the hit but it didn't happen for us today," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "That's the way it goes. We were on a pretty good roll with the bats and today we just didn't get the hit we needed."


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