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Mark Teixeira's first error of season costs Yankees in 4-3 loss

New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira, center,

New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira, center, makes his way into the dugout following the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays. (July 2, 2012) Credit: AP

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- One of the night's fiercest competitions took place after the game at separate lockers in the Yankees' clubhouse.

In one corner stood Mark Teixeira, whose first error of the season allowed what proved to be the winning run to score in the Rays' 4-3 victory over the Yankees at Tropicana Field.

In the other corner was reliever David Robertson, who has struggled since returning from the disabled list. He allowed a game-tying double with two outs in the seventh one batter before Teixeira's three-base error on a grounder by Elliot Johnson that skipped over the first-base bag and under Teixeira's glove.

"I just missed it,'' said the Gold Glove first baseman. "I don't know if it hit the back of the base or the chalk or what, but I still have to knock it down. That's the disappointing thing. I just missed it. I don't know what happened. The ball obviously didn't do what I expected it to do.

"We should still be playing if I make that play,'' said Teixeira, who had leaped to stab Luke Scott's second-inning line drive, robbing him of an extra-base hit and doubling off Jeff Keppinger at first base.

"I looked at the video'' -- he paused -- "I just missed it.''

Robertson, meanwhile, alternated between giving himself verbal jabs and uppercuts.

"I blew the game,'' he said. "I feel like I flat-out blew the game today. That one's not on Tex. He's made amazing plays behind us all year long.''

The offense didn't earn any stars either, but it did produce enough for the Yankees to take a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the seventh.

But after Cody Eppley got the first out, Boone Logan issued a one-out walk to pinch hitter Sean Rodriguez and Robertson (0-3) allowed a two-out double to pinch hitter Brooks Conrad -- who had eight strikeouts in his last 17 at-bats -- to tie it at 3-3.

"I shouldn't have fallen behind,'' Robertson said of Conrad, who hit a 3-and-1 pitch. "I'm very frustrated. I used to be really good at those situations . I'm not saying I can't be again, but lately, the last couple outings, I haven't been doing well with them, and it's time for me to turn it around and get those big outs. Right there the team needed a big out and I wasn't able to get it.''

Fernando Rodney retired pinch hitters Raul Ibañez, Eric Chavez and Dewayne Wise in the ninth to record his 23rd save.

Trying to protect a 3-1 lead over the White Sox in the ninth inning Friday night, Robertson allowed Dayan Viciedo's three-run homer, and the 4-3 loss ended the Yankees' winning streak at five games.

Robertson spent May 15-June 14 on the disabled list with a strained left oblique but said he's feeling fine physically.

"I feel good. I should be able to make the pitches,'' he said. "That's the frustrating thing to me is I wasn't able to make the pitches. I let the team down, I let everybody down. We had the lead, runner at second and two outs, I'm supposed to be able to get that out and I didn't do it.''

Joe Girardi called the loss "somewhat tough'' but wasn't dispensing blame.

"We had the lead a couple of times but weren't able to hold it, and that makes it a little bit more difficult,'' he said. "Freddy did a tremendous job, but unfortunately we weren't able to get more than three runs tonight.''

Freddy Garcia was about the only person who seemed pleased in the postgame clubhouse. Making his first start since April 28 because of the injuries to Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia, Garcia allowed two runs and five hits in 51/3 innings, throwing 74 pitches. Girardi said before the game that his pitch count would be about 75.

"I've got a chance again,'' said Garcia, who was 2-0 with a 1.56 ERA in 171/3 innings of relief after an April in which he went 0-2 with a 12.51 ERA. "I want to take the opportunity to prove I belong in the rotation.''

Garcia was given a 2-0 lead in the top of the first -- helped when rightfielder Hideki Matsui overran and then couldn't backhand Teixeira's fly ball, which was scored an RBI double -- but gave up solo homers by B.J. Upton with one out in the fourth and Carlos Peña with one out in the sixth. Curtis Granderson's sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead.

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