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A-Rod's lucky No. 13 -- and 14 -- unlucky for Yanks

• Hero: With the bases loaded and the Rays up just one run in the seventh inning, B.J. Upton doubled to left field to put Tampa Bay up 10-6.

• Figure this: Casey Fossum -- who allowed six runs on 10 hits in just 5 2/3 innings Monday -- has pitched in more games (19) against the Yankees than any other team.

• Figure this II: Before tonight, the Yankees haven't seen a four-game skid since June 8-11.

• Mike & Mike in the Morning: A-Rod's start is remarkable, says Steve Phillips, considering all of the ups and downs he's experienced in New York. As for the Yankees' 8-10 start, Phillps says it's much too early to panic.Insider

• Elias Says: A-Rod is only the third major league player since 1980 to begin a season with a hitting streak of at least 18 games.


-- ESPN.com news services

Devil Rays 10, Yankees 8

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Two more homers by Alex Rodriguez
couldn't stop the struggling New York Yankees from stumbling again.

A-Rod tied the major league record for home runs in April,
hitting his 13th and 14th of the season in a 10-8 loss to the Tampa
Bay Devil Rays on Monday night.

Rocco Baldelli and B.J. Upton offset the Yankees star by
combining to drive in seven runs for Tampa Bay.

"This obviously is a tough time for us, but it's a long season.
We've got to keep working ourselves out of it," Rodriguez said
after the Yankees' fourth consecutive loss on a five-game road trip
that ends Tuesday night.

"We need a win in the worst way. Again, I think hard work and
grinding through it and supporting your teammates are the most
important things."

Baldelli hit a three-run homer off Kei Igawa (1-1) in the second
inning. Upton lined a solo shot off the left-field foul pole in the
fourth for a 5-3 lead, then added a three-run double off reliever
Luis Vizcaino to finish with a career-high four RBIs.

"Against this team with their lineup, you've really got to
hunker down inning by inning because they're going to keep coming
at you," Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "They're never out
of the game, and it's never comfortable."

The Yankees, swept during a weekend series in Boston, got homers
in the second and ninth innings from A-Rod, whose average rose to
.400 after going 4-for-5 with three RBIs and four runs scored.

The second-inning solo shot off Casey Fossum (2-1) was the 477th
of Rodriguez's career and extended his hitting streak to 18 games
to start this season and 23 in a row dating to last September. The
two-run shot off Al Reyes in the ninth gave him 34 RBIs, tied the
mark for homers in April set by Albert Pujols in 2006 and broke the
AL mark of 13 held by Ken Griffey Jr.

"What he's doing is amazing. I hope he keeps it up," New
York's Johnny Damon said. "The whole team is rallying behind him.
We can't wait until the next time he comes up."

But the Yankees, who have been beset with injuries, are off to
an 8-10 start. Rodriguez said that makes it more difficult to enjoy
what's he accomplished in the first three weeks of the season.

"It's easier to say 'Wow' when we're winning games," he said.
"The key is to not get discouraged. We've got to just keep the
same approach, not try to do too much. If we can keep having that
approach over the long haul, we'll have more wins than losses."

New York pitchers have given up six runs or more in five
straight games and nine of 18 this season. In his fourth start
since leaving Japan to sign with the Yankees, allowed seven runs
and eight hits in 4 1-3 innings.

"You know it's going to get better. We're a team. We win
together. We lose together," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.
"Everybody is playing their tails off. You go out there and score
eight runs, it certainly should be enough. We just haven't been
able to make it."

Rodriguez lined a 2-2 pitch into the left-field stands off
Fossum, who also yielded a solo homer to Robinson Cano in the
fifth. The Devil Rays left-hander allowed six runs and 10 hits in 5
2-3 innings and benefited from the Yankees hitting into four double
plays.

Derek Jeter singled in the seventh inning, giving him a 14-game
hitting streak. He and Hideki Matsui, activated from the disabled
list earlier Monday, drove in runs for the Yankees with sacrifice
flies.

Josh Phelps drew a bases-loaded walk and Jason Giambi added an
RBI single as New York pulled within 7-6 in the sixth. But the
Yankees bullpen couldn't keep the Devil Rays from pulling away
again.

Tampa Bay loaded the bases in the seventh on a double and two
walks. Upton doubled down the left-field line and all three runners
scored easily.

The Yankees had one more chance, loading the bases with one out
in the eighth. Devil Rays reliever Brian Stokes escaped by getting
pinch-hitter Damon to foul to third and striking out Melky Cabrera.

"Our team should not lose four games in a row," Damon said.
"It happens, but we're supposed to be better than this."

Game notes
Phil Hughes, the Yankees' top minor league pitching
prospect, will make his major league debut Thursday against
Toronto. The 20-year-old right-hander is 2-1 with a 3.94 ERA in
three starts at Triple-A Scranton. ... To make room on the roster
for Matsui, out since April 7 with a strained left hamstring, the
Yankees optioned LHP Chase Wright to Double-A Trenton. Wright made
his second big league start Sunday night and became the second
major league pitcher to allow homers to four consecutive batters.
... Fossum has pitched in more games (19) against the Yankees than
any other team. He's 5-4 in 10 career starts against them. ... NFL
quarterbacks Chris Simms and Brian Griese threw out the ceremonial
first pitches.