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Yanks suffer letdown day after stunning rally

NEW YORK (AP) -- Comeback win, curious loss. The New York
Yankees' roller-coaster season rambles on.

Nick Green hit a go-ahead, three-run homer, Scott Kazmir pitched
seven solid innings and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays rebounded from an
embarrassing defeat with a 5-3 victory Wednesday over New York.

Less than 18 hours after allowing 13 runs in the eighth inning
of a 20-11 loss, the last-place Devil Rays improved to 6-3 against
the Yankees, who got another home run from Gary Sheffield but
little else.

"This was a tough loss, there's no question, after last
night," manager Joe Torre said. "This one was a little bit of a
setback and a surprise because it felt like we were going to win
the game."

Jonny Gomes hit a two-run shot for Tampa Bay, which is 3-2 at
Yankee Stadium this season and 4-27 in all other road games.

"For our kids to bounce back, I'm really proud of them,"
manager Lou Piniella said.

As has been the case all season, the inconsistent Yankees failed
to follow an uplifting victory with another sound ballgame.

Somewhat lost in the euphoria of New York's startling comeback
Tuesday night from an early eight-run deficit was Randy Johnson's
lousy outing. Carl Pavano was better, but Torre left him in one
batter too long.

With the Yankees leading 3-2 in the seventh, Pavano (4-6) issued
a leadoff walk to Gomes. Two outs later, the right-hander hit Toby
Hall with a pitch for the second time.

Green, the No. 9 batter, stunned the crowd of 48,452 by driving
a 1-2 pitch over the left-field fence, beyond a leaping Ruben
Sierra, for a 5-3 lead.

"I know he was tiring, but like I said, that was going to be
his last batter and we thought he could get through that," Yankees
pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre said. "One pitch made it a negative
outing."

It was the 16th home run allowed this year by Pavano, matching
his total last season with Florida. Signed to a $39.95 million,
four-year contract in the offseason, he has given up 120 hits, most
in the major leagues. He fell to 0-4 in six starts since beating
the Mets 5-3 on May 23. Before the skid, he won four straight
decisions.

The 21-year-old Kazmir (3-5) allowed four hits in seven innings,
matching the longest outing of his brief career. It was his first
win in five starts.

"At the beginning, I had a lot of fastballs on both sides of
the plate. I had good success with that, and then it was just
mixing pitches," Kazmir said.

With dark clouds moving in and a bolt of lightning piercing the
sky, Danys Baez struck out Sierra with runners at second and third
to end the eighth.

In a steady drizzle, Baez then finished for his 11th save in 17
chances, striking out Derek Jeter with a runner on third to end it.
The Devil Rays improved to 4-of-15 in save opportunities on the
road.

"We just put everything behind us," Gomes said. "We've got
some guys with bounce-back."

New York, meanwhile, dropped to 0-25 when scoring three runs or
fewer.

"They give us a tough time," Alex Rodriguez said. "We know
when Lou comes in here he's always going to have his troops ready.
We definitely don't take them for granted."

Bernie Williams singled in the first, and Sheffield drove a 1-2
pitch way over the left-field fence for his third homer in two
games and No. 428 of his career. He has nine RBI in the last two
games.

Pavano cruised into the fourth until Gomes hit a two-run shot
with two outs, extending his hitting streak to 10 games, the
longest by an AL rookie this year. He also connected Tuesday night
as the Devil Rays built a 10-2 lead.

"Poor execution," Pavano said. "I haven't put together
consistently good outings."

Torre and Stottlemyre said Pavano had a small blood blister on
his middle finger drained between innings, but it wasn't a problem.
Strangely, the pitcher refused to acknowledge having the blister.

Pavano examined his finger after Green's one-out single in the
fifth put runners at the corners. A trainer came to the mound, but
the right-hander remained in the game and got Carl Crawford to hit
a one-hop shot to second for an inning-ending double play.

Sierra doubled leading off the fifth and scored on Robinson
Cano's RBI groundout, giving New York a 3-2 lead.

Game notes
The Yankees are the first team in major league history to
score at least 13 runs in an inning twice in one season, and Tampa
Bay is the first club to allow 13 runs in an inning twice in one
season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. New York also scored
13 times in the second inning of a 19-8 home victory over the Devil
Rays on April 18. ... The 31 runs and 41 hits Tuesday night set
Yankee Stadium records. ... Williams' first-inning single gave him
2,149 hits, surpassing Hall of Famer Yogi Berra for sixth on the
Yankees' career list. Williams needs four hits to tie current
batting coach Don Mattingly for fifth place. ... Tampa Bay RF
Aubrey Huff left in the fifth with a bruised right knee. He is day
to day. ... The speedy Crawford also bounced into a double play in
the third. Entering the game, he had grounded into one DP all
season.