Final

Series: Game 1 of 2

Tampa Bay leads 1-0 (as of 7/19)

Game 1: Monday, July 19
NY Yankees7Final
Tampa Bay9
Game 2: Tuesday, July 20
NY Yankees4Final
Tampa Bay2

Yankees 7

(57-34, 24-22 away)

Devil Rays 9

(45-47, 26-20 home)

    7:15 PM ET, July 19, 2004

    Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida 

    123456789 R H E
    NYY 000230020 7 8 0
    TB 50000301 - 9 13 1

    W: L. Carter (3-2)

    L: T. Sturtze (3-2)

    S: D. Baez (19)

    Tampa scores five runs in first

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- When you're hitting .214, you can use all the assistance you can get at the plate.

    Robert Fick's routine fly ball fell for a two-run, pinch-hit double in the sixth inning Monday night, helping the Tampa Bay Devil Rays beat the New York Yankees 9-7.

    "The ball should have been caught," said Fick, whose hit was one of a franchise-record eight doubles for the Devil Rays. "The way my season is going it kind of helps."

    Aubrey Huff's two-run double was the big blow in a five-run first for Tampa Bay, which won the opener of a two-game series after losing four in a row to New York heading into the All-Star break.

    . The Devil Rays snapped a 5-5 tie in the sixth on Geoff Blum's RBI single off reliever Tanyon Sturtze (3-2).

    Fick followed with his hit, which dropped behind Kenny Lofton and Hideki Matsui when the outfielders -- each apparently thinking the other was going to make the catch -- pulled off the ball.

    "You need breaks like that when you play those guys," Huff said.

    Matsui, speaking through an interpreter, said Lofton called for the ball.

    "I heard Kenny. That's why I stopped," Matsui said. "At first I didn't hear him, but toward the end I heard him. ... Those plays just happen sometimes."

    Yankees manager Joe Torre said players have to find ways to communicate in those situations.

    "I know it was loud out there," Torre said. "But you still need to get the job done."

    Ruben Sierra homered for the third straight game for New York, delivering a two-run, pinch-hit shot off Jesus Colome to trim Tampa Bay's lead to 8-7 in the eighth. Carl Crawford's RBI triple off Paul Quantrill gave Tampa Bay a two-run cushion going into the ninth.

    Devil Rays closer Danys Baez struck out Lofton to end the Yankees eighth, then retired Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter and Gary Sheffield in the ninth for his 19th save in 21 opportunities.

    "That's a pretty tall order," Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said. "But our guy was up for the task."

    The Devil Rays scored five runs in the first against Yankees rookie Alex Graman, who lasted just one-third of an inning in his second major league start. The Yankees rallied to make it 5-5 with two runs in the fourth and three in the fifth off right-hander Rob Bell.

    Graman was promoted from Triple-A Columbus last week to fill a spot in the rotation when Mike Mussina went on the 15-day disabled list with a sore right elbow.

    The 26-year-old left-hander failed to get out of the third inning in his major league debut at Chicago on April 20, despite the Yankees staking him to a big lead with a seven-run first inning.

    Graman lasted six batters this time, giving up doubles to Huff, Lugo and Jorge Cantu and singles to Crawford and Rocco Baldelli, the latter an infield hit that drove in Tampa Bay's first run.

    In his two starts for the Yankees, Graman has allowed 10 runs and 13 hits in three innings for an ERA of 30.00. Including a two-inning relief appearance in which he allowed one run against Boston on April 23, his overall ERA is 19.80.

    Now, he's headed back to Columbus. Torre said Sturtze could replace the rookie in the rotation this weekend against Boston.

    "It's a little bit discouraging. I know I can pitch here," Graman said. "I just have to calm myself down and trust my abilities. I really didn't give myself a chance to succeed or keep my team in the game."

    New York has come from behind to win a major league-leading 35 times this season, and if there's a single pitcher whose history suggests he'd be a candidate to squander a big lead against the Yankees it's Bell.

    In five career starts against the defending American League champions before Monday night, Bell allowed 12 homers, 29 earned runs and 39 hits in just 22 2/3 innings.

    New York cut into its deficit on RBI singles by Matsui and Enrique Wilson in the fourth. Jeter doubled, Sheffield singled and Alex Rodriguez was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out in the fifth, ending Bell's night.

    Jason Giambi's sacrifice fly against Carter trimmed Tampa Bay's lead to 5-3, and Jorge Posada's double drove in Sheffield and Rodriguez to make it 5-5.

    Game notes


    The sellout of 41,755 was Tampa Bay's first at Tropicana Field since the home opener against the Yankees on April 6. ... Crawford's first-inning single extended his hitting streak to 10 games. ... Matsui snapped an 0-for-13 streak with his RBI single. ... New York's Bernie Williams went 0-for-5 and is mired in a 2-for-37 slump. ... Since May 20, the Devil Rays are 2-6 against the Yankees and 33-13 against other opponents.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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