ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Saturday night's unexpected pitcher was Sunday's unexpected hero at the plate.
Rookie infielder Dean Anna, who pitched in garbage time during a blowout loss Saturday, worked a bases-loaded walk in the 12th inning Sunday to help the Yankees split their four-game series against the Rays with a 5-1 win at Tropicana Field.
"Baseball's all about moments and it was a fun moment," Anna said. "Pitching and that, it's been a fun time in Tampa. I'm happy to go on to Boston."
With the score tied at 1-1, Rays manager Joe Maddon opted not to pitch to Jacoby Ellsbury with runners on first and third and two outs in the 12th, ordering rookie lefthander C.J. Riefenhauser to issue an intentional walk to load the bases.
The lefthanded-hitting Anna then fell behind 0-and-1 and 1-and-2 against Riefenhauser. But on the eighth pitch of the at-bat, Anna -- batting in Derek Jeter's spot in the order after Ichiro Suzuki ran for Jeter in the 11th -- barely checked his swing on a 3-and-2 slider away, putting the Yankees ahead 2-1.
Anna said he was "100-percent positive" that he had successfully checked his swing. Maddon disagreed and left the dugout to chirp at third-base umpire Marty Foster.
The Yankees then got a two-run single up the middle by Carlos Beltran and a bloop RBI single by Alfonso Soriano, both off Josh Lueke, to make it 5-1.
Preston Claiborne, who was called up late Saturday night and arrived in town Sunday morning, pitched the final two innings and earned the victory.
"Quite an adrenaline pump," said Claiborne, who had a poor spring training and started the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
It was a fitting end to a bizarre series that started Thursday with a 10-2 victory over Tampa Bay that included a triple play, followed by consecutive games in which the light-hitting Rays outscored the Yankees 27-6.
Vidal Nuño, making a spot start because of last Wednesday's doubleheader against the Cubs, pitched five scoreless innings in a strong bid to take over the injured Ivan Nova's spot in the rotation. Nova was put on the disabled list Sunday because of a partially torn ligament in his right elbow.
"Everything was working," said Nuño, who started the year in the bullpen after competing for the No. 5 starter job that went to Michael Pineda. "Every day's an opportunity to show that I belong here and can get people out."
Nuño, on a pitch count of 75, threw 69 and allowed three hits and two walks, striking out six.
Brett Gardner's two-out RBI double off the rightfield wall in the fourth, a play originally ruled a catch by Wil Myers but overturned via replay, gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead.
With one out and a man on first in the seventh, the Rays' Brandon Guyer grounded sharply to third baseman Yangervis Solarte, who threw to second baseman Brian Roberts. Roberts appeared to catch the ball and lose it while transferring it to his right hand, which in past years would have been called an out. But under a new interpretation of what constitutes a catch, umpire Joe West called James Loney safe on Roberts' error. Yunel Escobar's single loaded the bases and pinch hitter Matt Joyce's sacrifice fly tied it at 1-1.
"That was an interesting game," said Mark Teixeira, who went 2-for-6 in his first game back from the DL. "I still don't understand some of those calls today. But hey, we got the win. That's all that matters."