The New York Yankees' right-hander changed the grip on his
slider after giving up hits to the first two batters he faced
Friday night, reverting to the way he threw the pitch two years ago
and going on to beat the Devil Rays 1-0.
"I was throwing the one I've been working on. It was always up,
always getting hit," Wright said. "I just figured, I'll try to
change something to get through it. I went back to the old one and
it worked out pretty well."
Wright matched a career high with 10 strikeouts and allowed four
hits in six sharp innings.
Bernie Williams drove in the only run with a fourth-inning
single off Jae Seo (0-2), who was nearly as good as Wright in his
second start for Tampa Bay since being acquired from the Los
Angeles Dodgers in a trade last week.
Wright (5-5) retired the last nine batters he faced, walked none
and departed after 91 pitches. The Yankees' bullpen took up where
he left off, with Scott Proctor pitching a perfect seventh and Kyle Farnsworth posting a 1-2-3 eighth.
Mariano Rivera worked the ninth, finishing the combined
four-hitter and earning his 19th save in 21 opportunities. Yankees
pitchers retired their final 18 batters.
Yankees manager Joe Torre said Wright pitched as well as he has
"After the first two batters get base hits, he just completely
shut things down," Torre said. "I can't tell you what a great
effort that was from him."
In 10 starts with the Dodgers this season, Seo was 2-3 with a
5.26 ERA. He allowed four runs in five innings in a loss to
Washington in his first start for Tampa Bay, but was much sharper
against the Yankees.
Williams had two of the three hits off the Tampa Bay starter,
who also gave up a single to Jason Giambi. He moved to second on a
groundout and scored when Williams hit a bouncer up the middle with
two outs in the fourth.
The Devil Rays wasted scoring opportunities against Wright,
stranding runners in scoring position in the first, third and
He wiggled out of trouble in the first after giving up a leadoff
single to Julio Lugo and a double to the next batter, Carl Crawford. Tampa Bay failed to score in the third after Dioner Navarro had a leadoff single and stole second base, and Aubrey Huff
was stranded at third after leading off the fourth with a double.
"It was a toe-to-toe battle and we lost," said Devil Rays
manager Joe Maddon, whose team won three of four against Boston
before facing the Yankees.
"The game can be won or lost in the first or second inning. You
always look towards the end of the game. But it can happen earlier,
and for us it did tonight."
Wright retired nine in a row after yielding Huff's double. The
Devil Rays were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position against
him, and the right-hander's 10 strikeouts matched his career high,
set with Cleveland against Detroit on Sept. 6, 1998.
"It's a good feeling going into the (All-Star) break with my
best start," Wright said. "You just try to build from there."
Williams entered the game 3-for-3 lifetime against Seo. He
doubled in the second and remained perfect against the right-hander
with his RBI single. Seo finally struck out Williams in the
Seo fanned three and walked one in seven innings. He retired the
last 10 batters he faced.
Williams went 2-for-3 and boosted his career average at
Tropicana Field to .373 (79-for-212) -- highest in the domed stadium
by a visiting player with a minimum of 100 at-bats, according to
the Elias Sports Bureau.
The Yankees' outfielder is batting .438 (7-for-16) against Tampa
Bay this season, compared to .267 (64-for-240) against other
"I can't figure it out," Torre said of Williams' success at
The Trop. "Sometimes different players see balls indoors better
than others. That's a mystery we'll never solve."
New York's Derek Jeter went 0-for-4, ending a season-high
12-game hitting streak. ... Yankees CF Johnny Damon did not play
for the second straight night due to soreness in his right side. He
took batting practice and hopes to return to the lineup this
weekend. ... The last-place Devil Rays are 15-27 against AL East
rivals and 23-22 against everyone else. ... With 1,925 victories,
Torre needs one to tie Casey Stengel for 10th on baseball's career