Final

Series: Game 2 of 2

Series tied 1-1 (as of 7/20)

Game 1: Monday, July 19
NY Yankees7Final
Tampa Bay9
Game 2: Tuesday, July 20
NY Yankees4Final
Tampa Bay2

Yankees 4

(58-34, 25-22 away)

Devil Rays 2

(45-48, 26-21 home)

2:15 PM ET, July 20, 2004

Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida 

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NYY 100002001 4 6 1
TB 001100000 2 6 0

W: J. Contreras (8-3)

L: V. Zambrano (9-6)

S: M. Rivera (34)

Jeter hit by pitch in Yankees' victory

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- One of Gary Sheffield's shoulders is ailing, although it's difficult to tell by the way he's swinging the bat.

The New York Yankees slugger hit his 397th homer and drove in three runs Tuesday, helping Jose Contreras beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 4-2 for his fourth straight win since being reunited with his wife and children from Cuba last month.

Jose Contreras
Contreras

Gary Sheffield
Sheffield

"I feel like regardless of how I feel, I can go out there and help win a ballgame," said Sheffield, who's batting .296 with 18 homers and 65 RBI despite being bothered by bursitis in his left shoulder.

"That was probably the most aggressive I was all day," said Sheffield, who homered after Victor Zambrano hit Derek Jeter in the back of his right hand with a pitch leading off the sixth inning. "I swung hard. ... I can do that once in a while, but not for five at-bats."

Jeter left in the eighth with a bruised right wrist. X-rays were negative, and a precautionary MRI will be performed in New York on Wednesday.

The six-time All-Star shortstop doesn't expect to miss any playing time.

"I've been hit on the hands plenty of times. It doesn't feel good, but it will be all right," Jeter said. "It's pretty numb, but that's normal."

Contreras (8-3) allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings to beat Zambrano (9-6) for the second time in 12 days -- again denying the Tampa Bay right-hander's bid to become the first pitcher to beat the Yankees four times in a season since California's Chuck Finley in 1996.

All-Star relievers Tom Gordon and Mariano Rivera finished, with Rivera getting three outs for his AL-leading 34th save in 35 chances.

Rivera has converted 22 save opportunities in a row, the longest streak in the majors this season. His 317th save moved him within one of Rick Aguilera for 10th place on the career list. Rivera is 32-for-32 lifetime against Tampa Bay.

"If they have a lead in the seventh inning, you pretty much just wish for the best," Tampa Bay's Aubrey Huff said. "They've got Gordon and Rivera. That's about as automatic as you can get."

Contreras walked two and struck out three to remain unbeaten in five starts since his wife and daughters relocated to the United States. He beat Zambrano and the Devil Rays at Yankee Stadium on July 8, and Tuesday's victory gave New York a split of this two-game series.

The right-hander's next scheduled start is Sunday against Boston, which has roughed up Contreras in the past.

"A month ago, we would have made every effort to avoid that situation," Yankees pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre said. "Now, it's just another start for him."

Sheffield's two-run homer in the sixth was the first off Zambrano since June 4 -- a stretch of 50 2-3 innings -- and wiped out a 2-1 lead the Devil Rays took when Tino Martinez grounded into a double play in the fourth.

Sheffield connected on a high fastball -- five pitches after Zambrano, who leads the AL in walks and hit batters, plunked Jeter. The Devil Rays starter also hit Jorge Posada with a pitch later in the inning, hiking his season total to 15.

Yankees manager Joe Torre isn't surprised that Sheffield is thriving, despite his shoulder.

"He's tough," Torre said. "I don't know if I remember anybody in recent years tougher than him. I think Jeter has shown you toughness, too."

Jeter, who walked in the seventh, left the game in the bottom of the eighth when Torre moved Enrique Wilson from second base to shortstop, and Miguel Cairo took over at second.

Tony Clark added a bloop RBI single in the eighth, making it 4-2.

Zambrano has 19 wins since the start of last season -- 11 more than any other Devil Rays pitcher -- but at times can also be his own worst enemy. He walked Bernie Williams and gave up a single to Jeter to begin the game, then made the situation worse with a wild pitch that allowed the runners to advance to second and third.

Sheffield grounded out, driving in Williams for a 1-0 New York lead. The Devil Rays countered with an unearned run on Carl Crawford's sacrifice fly against Contreras in the third.

Zambrano allowed three runs and five hits in 5 2-3 innings. He struck out seven and walked three.

Game notes


The Devil Rays have lost just two of their past 17 series, both to the Yankees, who lead the season series 10-4. ... Crawford's first-inning single gave him a season-high 11-game hitting streak. It was his 24th infield hit. The All-Star outfielder also got his major league-leading 40th stolen base in the inning. ... The Yankees optioned LHP Alex Graman to Triple-A Columbus after he gave up five runs and got only one out against the Devil Rays on Monday night. RHP Scott Proctor was recalled from Columbus.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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