Series: Game 2 of 2

Tampa Bay won 2-0

Game 1: Monday, April 23
NY Yankees8Final
Tampa Bay10
Game 2: Tuesday, April 24
NY Yankees4Final
Tampa Bay6

Yankees 4

(8-11, 3-8 away)

Devil Rays 6

(9-11, 5-6 home)

    7:10 PM ET, April 24, 2007

    Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida 

    123456789 R H E
    NYY 010000210 4 6 1
    TB 00020040 - 6 10 1

    W: J. Salas (1-1)

    L: C. Wang (0-1)

    S: A. Reyes (7)

    Yankees-Devil Rays Preview


    Though Alex Rodriguez is delivering plenty of offense, Chien-Ming Wang's 2007 debut couldn't come any sooner for the struggling New York Yankees.

    The right-hander is scheduled to come off the disabled list Tuesday and make his first start of the season for the Yankees as they try to avoid a fifth consecutive loss in closing out a two-game series with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Tropicana Field.

    Monday, Rodriguez went 4-for-5 with two homers, four runs scored and three RBIs, but New York (8-10) dropped its fourth straight, 10-8 to Tampa Bay. The Yankees are four games behind AL East-leading Boston and just one-half game ahead of the last place Devil Rays (8-11).

    Rodriguez, who is hitting .400 (30-for-75) with 14 homers and 34 RBIs, become the first player in major league history to hit 14 homers in the first 18 games of the season and tied Albert Pujols' 2006 mark for most home runs in April.

    "This obviously is a tough time for us, but it's a long season. We've got to keep working ourselves out of it," Rodriguez said.

    "We need a win in the worst way. Again, I think hard work and grinding through it and supporting your teammates are the most important things."

    The Yankees have not lost five in a row since a six-game skid from May 28-June 3, 2005.

    Though Rodriguez has been a tough out, the return of Wang could give the Yankees struggling starting pitching staff a boost.

    New York's starters have given up 20 of the 31 runs allowed during its current skid. Plagued by injuries to Mike Mussina and Carl Pavano, Yankees starters have a 5.65 ERA, and opponents are hitting .301.

    Wang, who went 19-6 with a 3.63 ERA in 2006 and was the runner-up for the AL Cy Young Award, suffered a strained right hamstring late in spring training and was placed on the disabled list to start 2007. He was slated to square off with Tampa Bay ace Scott Kazmir to open the season on April 2 at Yankee Stadium and finally will be part of that matchup Tuesday.

    "He's ready to go," Yankees vice president Billy Connors said. "He's fine. He's throwing all his pitches. He's got them all going for him."

    Wang is 4-3 with a 3.62 ERA in eight starts against the Devil Rays.

    Rocco Baldelli and B.J. Upton combined for five hits with two homers and seven RBIs for Tampa Bay on Monday. Upton is 6-for-14 with seven RBIs in his last four games and raised his average to .352

    Kazmir (1-1, 5.25 ERA) looks to bounce back from his shortest outing of 2007, when he allowed three runs and six hits while throwing 102 pitches in four innings, but didn't earn a decision in Tampa Bay's 6-4 loss to Baltimore on Wednesday.

    "You're going to have days like that," Kazmir told the Devil Rays' official Web site. "I just wish I could've gone deeper in the game.

    "That's the life of a starting pitcher. Days you don't feel great, you still have to go out there and battle."

    The left-hander allowed five runs in five innings while not factoring in the decision of the Devil Rays' 9-5 opening day loss to the Yankees. He is 1-3 with a 4.18 ERA in six games -- five starts -- versus New York.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Gameday Matchup

     New YorkTampa Bay
    Current StreakW2W1
    Last 106-43-7

    Pitching Matchup

    New YorkTampa Bay
    C. Wang
    19-7, 3.70 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/26 at TB
    6.0 IP, 2 ER
    Dec = Win
    S. Kazmir
    13-9, 3.48 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/27 at TB
    6.0 IP, 1 ER
    Dec = ND

    Gameday Lineups

    NO.New YorkTampa Bay
    1. J. Damon, CF R. Baldelli, CF
    2. D. Jeter, SS B. Harris, SS
    3. B. Abreu, RF C. Crawford, LF
    4. A. Rodriguez, 3B T. Wigginton, 3B
    5. J. Giambi, DH D. Young, RF
    6. H. Matsui, LF C. Pena, 1B
    7. J. Posada, C J. Gomes, DH
    8. R. Cano, 2B D. Navarro, C
    9. J. Phelps, 1B B. Upton, 2B