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 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.
"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
"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
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
The six-time All-Star shortstop doesn't expect to miss any
"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.
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
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
Tony Clark added a bloop RBI single in the eighth, making it
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.
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