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Rays beat Yankees in Tampa slugfest

9/18/2002

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- The Yankees' bullpen finally let one
get away.

Alfonso Soriano went 5-for-5 with his 39th home run for New
York, but John Flaherty hit a tiebreaking double in the eighth
inning that lifted the Tampa Bay Devil Rays over the Yankees 9-7
Tuesday night.

Flaherty's two-out, two-run double off Steve Karsay capped a
four-run rally. Carl Crawford had a run-scoring grounder off Ramiro
Mendoza (8-4) and Aubrey Huff had an RBI single in the eighth.

New York's bullpen had converted all 12 save opportunities
during closer Mariano Rivera's current stint on the disabled list.

''We've been spoiled ... we haven't given any of those away,''
Yankees manager Joe Torre said. ''It felt strange, and I hope it
continues to feel strange.''

Mike Stanton, Mendoza and Karsay gave up five runs and six hits
over two innings in relief of Orlando Hernandez.

''We let Duque and everybody else down,'' Stanton said. ''That
one hurts a little bit. We didn't get the job done.''

Karsay is 11-for-14 in save situations.

''You never cut yourself any slack,'' he said. ''You want to go
out there and do the job every time.''

The Yankees' magic number to capture the AL East title remained
at four. Shortstop Derek Jeter left with a bruised right wrist
shortly after being hit by Paul Wilson's pitch in the seventh, and
was examined after the game.

''He'll be in there tomorrow,'' Torre said. ''He's OK. That was
just precautionary. If we're in a different situation, he's staying
in.''

Lance Carter (1-0) finished with 2 2-3 scoreless innings for his
first major league victory.

''I really don't look at it as the Yankees ... it's just another
team,'' Carter said. ''They're the best team in baseball, but they
go out there and try and hit me and I try to get them out.''

Randy Winn hit a three-run homer for Tampa Bay, who trailed 4-0
early in the game. Huff went 3-for-5 with two RBI.

''You want to go out there and clutch up against the Yankees,''
Huff said. ''You've got so many fans out there rooting for them at
your own place, so you really want to shut them up. That felt
good.''

Soriano tied his career high for hits, and homered in his third
straight game. He needs one more homer to become the fourth player
ever to have 40 homers and 40 steals during the same season.

''I feel good because I swung very good, but I'm not happy about
the game today,'' Soriano said.

Soriano also hit his 48th double, most ever by Yankees'
right-handed hitter. Bob Meusel had 47 in 1927.

Orlando Hernandez, pitching to catcher Jorge Posada for the
first time since throwing a punch at his teammate in a clubhouse
scuffle Saturday, allowed four runs and 10 hits over six innings.

Even though Posada has long caught Hernandez, they often
disagree on what pitches to throw, and frequently get angry at each
other in the dugout.

In the first inning, after Posada threw out Damian Rolls trying
to steal second, Hernandez nodded his head and pointed this glove
toward the catcher.

Posada followed Soriano's third-inning homer with a two-run
double. Raul Mondesi made it 4-0 on an RBI double.

Tampa Bay closed to 4-1 in the third on Crawford's RBI grounder.

The Yankees got the run back the following inning on a
run-scoring grounder by Jeter.

Winn's three-run homer in the fifth closed the Devil Rays to
5-4.

Bernie Williams hit a two-run triple in the seventh that put the
Yankees ahead 7-4. Huff had RBI single in the bottom half.

Game notes
Yankees owner George Steinbrenner attended the game. ...
Rivera (right shoulder) threw 31 pitches in batting practice and
could be activated by the weekend. ... Tampa Bay has hit 86 batters
this season, seven short of Boston's major league record set in
2001. ... Jose Canseco (1988), Barry Bonds (1996) and Alex
Rodriguez (1998) are baseball's only 40-40 players. ... Williams
became the fourth Yankees' player to score 100 runs. The last time
the Yankees had four or more players reach 100 in a single season
was 1941.