Final in 10

Series: Game 3 of 3

Tampa Bay won 2-1

Game 1: Tuesday, September 17
New York 7Final
Tampa Bay 9
Game 2: Wednesday, September 18
New York 7Final
Tampa Bay 1
Game 3: Thursday, September 19
New York 2Final
in 10
Tampa Bay 3

Yankees 2

(95-57, 45-30 away)

Devil Rays 3

(51-101, 28-50 home)

    7:15 PM ET, September 19, 2002

    Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida 

    12345678910 R H E
    NYY 0010100000 2 - -
    TB 1000000101 3 - -

    W: E. Yan (7-8)

    L: S. Hitchcock (1-2)

    Sheets knocks in winning run with single in 10th

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- The Tampa Bay Devil Rays did not play like the worst team in the majors.

    Andy Sheets
    Sheets

    Andy Sheets' game-winning RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning led the Devil Rays to a 3-2 win over New York, keeping the Yankees' magic number for clinching the AL East at two.

    The Devil Rays became the first team since the 1964 New York Mets to take a series from a first-place team after eclipsing 100 losses. Tampa Bay is 2-18-3 in its last 23 series.

    After losing two of three at Tampa Bay, the Yankees head to Detroit to begin a three-game series Friday as they try to clinch their fifth straight division title. Any combination of two New York wins or Boston losses will clinch it.

    "I thought we played well,'' Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "We just didn't score.''

    Aubrey Huff hit a one-out single off Sterling Hitchcock (1-2) in the 10th and went to third on Ben Grieve's double. After Toby Hall was intentionally walk, Hitchcock fell behind 3-0 before striking out Jared Sandberg. After falling behind 0-2, Sheets took two pitches before singling to left.

    "I hung a split,'' Hitchcock said. "I've always been pretty good at wiggling out of jams. It's frustrating.''

    "I had faced him in a rehab start, and with two strikes he threw that split,'' Sheets said. "So I was waiting for it.'' Tampa Bay tied it at 2 when Randy Winn hit a solo homer off Steve Karsay in the eighth -- New York's second blown eighth-inning lead this series. The Yankees had converted 12 straight saves since closer Mariano Rivera went out with an injury before this series.

    The Yankees fell one game behind Oakland for the race for best record in the AL.

    "They're playing for something,'' Tampa Bay manager Hal McRae said. "They really needed to win. We played with a heck of a club. We got it done.''

    Esteban Yan (7-8) worked a scoreless inning for the win.

    Alfonso Soriano went 2-for-5, including an RBI single that put the Yankees up 2-1 in the fifth. He had nine hits in 15 at-bats during the series.

    Soriano remains one homer short of becoming the fourth player to have 40 homers and 40 steals in the same season. Soriano hit his 39th homer Tuesday.

    Jose Canseco (1988), Barry Bonds (1996) and Alex Rodriguez (1998) are members of the 40-40 club. Soriano would become the only one with 40 doubles during the same season.

    Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams was out of the lineup for the second straight game because of mild inflammation behind his left knee. He flew out to the warning track as a pinch-hitter in the 10th.

    Mike Mussina allowed one run and five hits over seven innings in his failed bid to snap a personal three-game losing streak. He worked out of several jams, holding the Devil Rays hitless in 10 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

    "I got a little better as the game went along,'' Mussina said. "I'm just trying to get better and be more consistent''

    Dewon Brazelton, Tampa Bay's top draft pick last year, gave up two runs and seven hits over seven innings in his second career start.

    Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead in the first when Winn scored after Yankees center fielder Raul Mondesi misplayed Huff's liner. Mondesi was charged with a two-base error. The Yankees got the run back on Juan Rivera's first career homer in the third. Rivera went 2-for-3. He and Rondell White are the top contenders to start in left field when the postseason begins.

    White was hitless in four at-bats, and has six hits in his past 46 at-bats.

    Shane Spencer, who could miss at least five days after re-aggravating a left hamstring injury Wednesday, likely dropped out of the left field mix for the first playoff round. "I don't know what I'm going to do,'' Torre said. "Whoever starts the first game may not start the second. It's going to be a feel thing.''

    Game notes


    New York LHP David Wells, scratched from his start Wednesday because of a stomach virus, is scheduled to start Sunday. ... Wells was seen picking up what appeared to be a mouse with two cups in the Yankees' dugout early in the game. ... Rivera (right shoulder) threw 12 minutes in the bullpen and could be activated from the DL by Saturday. ... As part of rookie hazing, Yankees 3B Drew Henson found a wedding gown instead of his clothes in his locker. He wore the dress as he left the ballpark.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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