Series: Game 1 of 3

NY Yankees leads 1-0 (as of 7/7)

Game 1: Friday, July 7
NY Yankees1Final
Tampa Bay0
Game 2: Saturday, July 8
NY Yankees5Final
Tampa Bay1
Game 3: Sunday, July 9
NY Yankees5Final
Tampa Bay6

Yankees 1

(49-35, 23-18 away)

Devil Rays 0

(38-49, 21-19 home)

7:15 PM ET, July 7, 2006

Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida 

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NYY 000100000 1 3 0
TB 000000000 0 4 1

W: J. Wright (5-5)

L: J. Seo (2-6)

S: M. Rivera (19)

Four pitchers combine on shutout as Yanks clip Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- After a shaky start, Jaret Wright called on an old ally to shut down the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

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 all season.

"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 fourth.

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 seventh.

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 opponents.

"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."

Game notes

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 list.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press