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Grandy loses ball in roof as Yankees lose

New York Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson reacts

New York Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson reacts as a ball hit by Tampa Bay Rays' Justin Ruggiano falls in front of him during the seventh inning of a baseball game. (July 19, 2011) Credit: AP

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Hold all those calls to give Bart the boot from the Yankees' rotation.

Bartolo Colon pitched a gem Tuesday night, but a seventh inning from you know where led to a 3-2 loss to the Rays in front of 22,780 at Tropicana Field, the catwalk-adorned dome with a creme-colored ceiling that is increasingly drawing catcalls from visiting teams, and the home one, too.

"Nice stadium,'' Yankees reliever Boone Logan muttered as reporters gathered nearby to talk to centerfielder Curtis Granderson, who lost a fly ball in the roof in the critical two-run seventh.

"I don't feel they won it,'' catcher Russell Martin said, not blaming the building. "We gave it to them.''

But first, and in the long term the most significant element of the night, the good.

Colon, coming off back-to-back losses, allowed three runs (two earned) and five hits in 61/3 innings. He walked two and struck out nine, his most since April 26, 2007, against Tampa, when he was with the Angels. In his previous outing Thursday in Toronto, Colon didn't get out of the first inning, tagged for eight runs, though only three were earned, in a 16-7 loss.

"I felt physically really good,'' said Colon, who expressed some trepidation after his last start about the strained left hamstring that sent him to the disabled list in June. "I didn't feel anything in my leg. Today was my best day.''

With talk swirling about what kind of moves to address the rotation Brian Cashman might try to make before the non-waivers trade deadline, Colon's outing could only be categorized as a positive.

And even more so given the news regarding Ivan Nova, who left his start for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after 11/3 innings after turning an ankle. Yankees director of pro personnel Billy Eppler had no further details on the injury.

There were plenty of details relating to the almost comically bad seventh.

Colon (6-6, 3.43 ERA) departed with runners on first and second and one out with the Yankees leading 2-1. The lefty Logan came on to face lefthanded Sam Fuld, and Rays manager Joe Maddon countered by sending up righthanded Justin Ruggiano to pinch hit.

Ruggiano sent a high fly to medium center, and almost immediately came the ultimate sign of trouble for an outfielder. Granderson threw his arms up. He said he lost the ball initially off the bat, picked it back up, then . . .

"Right when it was coming back down, I had no clue where it was at,'' he said. "When I finally went to make an attempt at it, it was a little bit too late.''

That loaded the bases, and pinch hitter Elliot Johnson sent a chopper back to Logan, in perfect position to start a 1-2-3 double play. But the ball bounced off the tip of Logan's glove for an error and rolled behind the mound. That allowed rookie Robinson Chirinos to score and tie it at 2.

"First, you've got to catch the ball,'' Logan said. "Definitely was going home, that would have been an easy one out for sure, probably could have turned it . We needed at least one out on that play.''

Johnny Damon's sacrifice fly to short center brought in Sean Rodriguez, who singled to right off Colon, to make it 3-2.

Jeremy Hellickson (9-7) allowed five of the Yankees' six hits, including a two-run homer to Robinson Cano, in seven innings.

The talk, however, was about one inning in particular: the seventh.

"We kind of gave them a game,'' said Joe Girardi, who also steered clear of blaming Tropicana Field. "You're going to have physical errors, and you're going to lose balls in the lights. It's going to happen sometimes in a dome . . .

"You don't like these types of losses. We kind of stole one last night and we kind of gave it back tonight.''

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