The Subway Series starts Friday night in Queens. The Yankees might need an ambulance to take them there.
The Yanks are banged up and their egos are bruised after dropping another one to the Rays, 8-6, at Yankee Stadium last night, their eighth loss in the last 12 games. They have fallen from 21-8 to 25-16, five games behind Tampa Bay (30-11).
"We're still on pace to win 100 games, so we're not jumping off any bridges just yet," Nick Swisher said. "We're just going through a bad little stretch right now."
"You can't make too much out of a few games," Joe Girardi said.
Tampa Bay is the king of hustle baseball, but the Rays launched four homers - three off Andy Pettitte and one off Chan Ho Park - including two by Carlos Peña, and finished with 11 hits. A night earlier, they had 15 hits in a 10-6 victory.
"I feel like we haven't thrown the ball well the last couple games," said Pettitte (5-1), who allowed seven runs in five innings-plus in his first ugly start of 2010. "I feel like I could have nothing and do better than giving up seven runs, and I felt decent."
Pettitte had allowed one homer in his first seven starts (451/3 innings), but he allowed his third homer last night on his 103rd and final pitch. Peña's first of two homers sailed deep into the seats in rightfield for a 7-4 Rays lead. Said Girardi, "He got in some bad counts early and he was up in the zone a bit."
The Yankees rallied from 3-0 and 4-3 deficits to tie the score twice, but Pettitte immediately allowed the Rays to regain the lead each time.
Jason Bartlett, who had homered off A.J. Burnett on the second pitch of Wednesday night's game, led off last night's game with a flare down the rightfield line that bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double. Carl Crawford singled home a run and Ben Zobrist hit a two-run homer to right for a 3-0 lead. Like Bartlett on Wednesday, it was his first homer of the year.
The Yankees rallied to tie the score at 3 against James Shields (5-1), who wound up striking out seven in 71/3 innings. Juan Miranda smacked a two-run homer to right in the second and then the Yankees resorted to small ball - the sort of game at which the Rays excel.
Randy Winn led off the third with a single and Jeter dropped a bunt single toward third base. Gardner also bunted down the third-base line and clearly was going to beat any throw, but the off-balance Shields unwisely threw to first, the ball sailed over Peña's head and Winn scored on the error. That put runners on second and third with none out, but Mark Teixeira hit a comebacker and Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano struck out.
B.J. Upton homered with two outs in the fourth. The Yankees promptly answered with a sacrifice fly by Winn on which leftfielder Crawford made an outstanding running catch. That drove in Miranda, who had hit a one-out fly to center that Upton never saw. It fell for a triple.
But Shields went on to retire 12 straight batters and Pettitte allowed an RBI single to Crawford and a sacrifice fly to Zobrist in the fifth to fall behind for good.
The Yankees made a flurry of roster moves before the game, calling up veteran catcher Chad Moeller and utilityman Kevin Russo, placing Jorge Posada (broken foot) on the 15-day disabled list, demoting pitcher Mark Melancon to Triple-A Scranton and moving Nick Johnson from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list.
Swisher (sore left biceps) returned and went 1-for-4, a single off lefthander Randy Choate.
Notes & quotes: Major League Baseball denied the Yankees' protest of Tuesday's 7-6 loss to the Red Sox . . . The Yankees extended their contract with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre through the 2014 season.