Shields outduels Sabathia, Rays beat Yankees

CC Sabthia
New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia delivers to the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game, Thursday, July 21, 2011, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)
New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia delivers to the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game, Thursday, July 21, 2011, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Tampa Bay Rays All-Star James Shields won for the first time in nearly a month, outpitching CC Sabathia and beating the New York Yankees 2-1 on Thursday night.

Shields (9-8) allowed six hits, walked three and struck out six over 7 2-3 innings in his second duel with Sabathia in 12 days. The right-hander lost 1-0 to the major league wins leader on July 10 at Yankee Stadium, yielding the game’s only run on an errant pickoff throw to third base.

Sabathia (14-5) lost for the first time since June 9, ending a streak of victories in seven consecutive starts. Slumping Evan Longoria homered and finished with two of the five hits off the Yankees ace. Sam Fuld drove in Tampa Bay’s second run with a fifth-inning triple.

The loss dropped New York two games behind first-place Boston in the AL East. The third-place Rays salvaged a split in the four-game series, but only went 4-6 in a critical stretch of 10 straight games against the Red Sox and Yankees.

Shields ended a personal four-game skid, winning for the first time since a 5-1 complete-game victory at Houston on June 24. The right-hander allowed just one baserunner past first until the eighth, when Derek Jeter doubled for career hit No. 3,010 and scored on Robinson Cano’s double into the right field corner.

Brandon Gomes replaced Shields and got Nick Swisher hit a first-pitch flyball to center to end the eighth. Kyle Farnsworth worked the ninth for Tampa Bay, earning his 19th save in 22 opportunities.

Longoria began the night just 4 for 31 in his previous eight games. He hit his 12th homer with two outs in the first, added an infield hit in the fourth and finished 2 for 2 with two walks — one intentional.

Sabathia walked four and struck out eight en route to his third complete game of the season.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi tweaked his batting order for the game, moving Brett Gardner from ninth to leadoff and dropping Jeter from first to second. The change was made in part because regular No. 2 hitter Curtis Granderson was not in the starting lineup after fouling a ball off his right calf and also being hit in the back with a pitch on Wednesday night.

Jeter’s double lifted him into a tie with Hall of Famer Wade Boggs for 25th on the careeer hits list. Granderson entered the game as a pinch hitter in the seventh and remained to play the last three innings in center field.

Before Longoria went deep, New York pitchers had gone eight consecutive games without allowing a home run — the longest such streak for the Yankees since another eight-game homerless stretch in 1999. Sabathia hadn’t yielded one since June 19 at home against the Chicago White Sox, a span of five starts.

NOTES: Rays RHP Wade Davis (right forearm strain) will be activated from the 15-day disabled list on Friday and start the opener of a three-game series at Kansas City. … Girardi said Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez, who had right knee surgery on July 11, had the stitches removed and continues working out in a pool. … New York RHP Rafael Soriano pitched one inning in his second appearance with Class-A Tampa, allowing one run and two hits. … INF 3B Eric Chavez (broken left foot) played defense for the first time in the same game. Both could rejoin the team next week. … Yankees INF Ramiro Pena was released from a hospital Wednesday, two days after having an appendectomy.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press