Series: Game 1 of 4

NY Yankees leads 1-0 (as of 9/6)

Game 1: Monday, September 6
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Game 2: Monday, September 6
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NY Yankees
Game 2: Tuesday, September 7
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Game 3: Wednesday, September 8
Tampa BayPostponed
NY Yankees
Game 3: Wednesday, September 8
Tampa BayPostponed
NY Yankees
Game 3: Thursday, September 9
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Game 4: Thursday, September 9
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Devil Rays 4

(59-76, 23-42 away)

Yankees 7

(85-52, 47-21 home)

    7:05 PM ET, September 6, 2004

    Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York 

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    TB 010001002 4 8 1
    NYY 00140002 - 7 12 0

    W: O. Hernandez (7-0)

    L: D. Waechter (3-7)

    S: P. Quantrill (1)

    El Duque wins seventh straight

    NEW YORK (AP) -- After a daylong wait for an afternoon doubleheader that got turned into a single night game, the New York Yankees found their 1-2 punch.

    On another unusual day in the Bronx filled with talk of a forfeit, Hurricane Frances caused the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to arrive three hours after the scheduled start.

    Alex Rodriguez then got shifted into the No. 2 spot in the batting order and stroked a three-run double for his first hit with the bases loaded in more than a year. Derek Jeter, batting leadoff for the second day in a row, scored a pair of runs and Orlando Hernandez won his seventh straight decision to lead the Yankees over the Devil Rays 7-4 Monday night, Tampa Bay's season-high eighth straight loss.

    "It's kind of fun hitting behind Jete and in front of Sheff," Rodriguez said, referring to Gary Sheffield. "It's a good spot to be in. Hopefully, we'll generate a lot of runs."

    Fouled up by the hurricane, which caused consecutive postponements against Detroit on Saturday and Sunday at Tropicana Field, the Devil Rays' charter didn't even take off from Florida until five minutes before the doubleheader was scheduled to start at 3 p.m.

    Major league baseball then switched it to a single night game at 7 p.m., just one hour after the Devil Rays arrived at the ballpark.

    The Yankees, with "1G" still up on the scoreboard to record the first-game score, asked the commissioner's office to award them a forfeit, a request commissioner Bud Selig made clear he would reject. Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer, said the other game will be rescheduled soon, possibly during the remainder of the series, which runs through Thursday. The Yankees threatened to refuse to make up the game this week.

    Fans started entering the ballpark at 11 a.m. and were given free hot dogs and soda during the eight-hour wait. They applauded loudly during batting practice and were unusually lively during the early innings. While 44,422 tickets were sold, the crowd appeared to peak at about 30,000.

    "They were troopers tonight. They had a full day," Rodriguez said. "They should get credit for two wins today."

    The Devil Rays, on their longest skid since July 2002, were without outfielder Aubrey Huff, who could not get from his home, which is in a low-lying area, to Tropicana Field.

    "We sent the police over," Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said, "and we still couldn't get him out."

    It's been a high-pressure period for the Yankees, coming off a team-record 22-0 defeat to Cleveland last week and the loss of pitcher Kevin Brown, who broke his non-pitching hand punching a wall in frustration Friday. New York's AL East lead over second-place Boston, 10½ games in mid-August, is down to 2½ games over the Red Sox, who won 8-3 at Oakland.

    Rodriguez, the reigning AL MVP, had been 0-for-10 with the bases loaded this season and hitless in 11 at-bats with the bases full since his 11th-inning grand slam at Texas off Boston's Todd Jones on July 31, 2003. He hadn't hit second since Oct. 2, 1999, and remembered the days he hit in front of Ken Griffey Jr. in Seattle.

    "He looked more aggressive," said Yankees manager Joe Torre, who had considered the move for three weeks. "We'll continue to do it as long as it seems comfortable. Derek, he gives you a lot of energy up top."

    Jorge Cantu's first major league homer had put the Devil Rays ahead 1-0 in the second against Hernandez (7-0), who has become the Yankees' ace.

    After Sheffield's third-inning RBI grounder and Miguel Cairo's fourth-inning sacrifice fly put New York ahead 2-1 against Doug Waechter (3-7), Rodriguez came up later in the fourth and grounded a double under the glove of a diving B.J. Upton. The 20-year-old was making his first professional start at third base.

    Waechter had traveled to New York on Sunday from Charlotte, N.C.

    "I didn't see the team until 6:15," he said. "They had a long day for sure. It was tough on them."

    Hernandez allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings before he was ejected by plate umpire Adam Dowdy for arguing balls and strikes. Yankees pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre also was ejected.

    Torre thought Dowdy overreacted to criticism made by the pair from the top step of the dugout.

    "Duque's excitable, but Mel's pretty calm," Torre said.

    Game notes

    Tampa Bay OF Carl Crawford missed the game because of a bruised right shoulder. ... Hernandez improved to 9-2 against the Devil Rays, Waechter dropped to 0-3 against New York. ... Jose Cruz Jr. had an RBI single for Tampa Bay in the sixth. Pinch-hitter Ruben Sierra had a run-scoring single off Lance Carter in the eighth, and Jeter followed with a sacrifice fly. ... Paul Quantrill gave up a two-run homer to Geoff Blum and finished for his first save since July 10, 2003, for Los Angeles at St. Louis.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press