Shields' 8 shutout innings help Rays keep Yanks at bay

NEW YORK -- James Shields took advantage of his last chance to get his first win at Yankee Stadium.

Shields tossed eight shutout innings, Evan Longoria celebrated his return to the Tampa Bay Rays' lineup with a bases-loaded single and the AL East leaders beat New York 7-1 Saturday in the opener of the Yankees' final homestand at their longtime ballpark.

The Rays started the day-night doubleheader with their seventh win in eight games and extended their lead to three games over second-place Boston, which lost 8-1 to Toronto in the opener of another day-night twinbill.

"You look at the seven points but it's always about our starting pitching and it worked again today," manager Joe Maddon said.

Shields (13-8) allowed five hits, walked none and struck out six to earn his first win in eight career starts against New York. He also improved to 1-3 with a 6.35 ERA in five games at Yankee Stadium, which is being replaced by a new showplace across the street.

"It's good to end on a good note," Shields said.

Bobby Abreu hit his 17th homer off Trever Miller and Derek Jeter had three hits for New York, which has lost four of five and is almost certain to miss the playoffs for the first time since 1993. Alex Rodriguez was scratched with a stiff neck and may sit out of the nightcap, too.

Mike Mussina (17-9) threw five shaky innings and first baseman Jason Giambi committed an unseemly error that led to another run.

"We gave them two or three extra outs and they capitalized on that," manager Joe Girardi said. "When you do that it's tough on the pitcher."

New York was fourth in the AL East and nine games back of wild card-leading Boston before Saturday's games.

"We just have to be professionals -- that's the bottom line," center fielder Johnny Damon said.

The Yankees and Rays were rained out Friday night, leading to the split doubleheader on the first day of a 10-game stretch at the House that Ruth Built. Tampa Bay's Matt Garza and Sidney Ponson will get the ball in the makeup game Saturday night.

A sellout crowd of 54,088 was mostly silent as New York sputtered against Shields, who is 2-1 with a 2.43 ERA in his last four starts. There was an occasional smattering of boos but the fans seemed mostly resigned to their team's poor play.

Shields set a career best for wins and also became the first Tampa Bay pitcher with two seasons of more than 200 innings. Justin Ruggiano went 3-for-4 with two RBIs.

"I think I was just executing all my pitches today," Shields said. "I think my sequences were really good, the way that I was approaching each hitter, taking my time out there."

Longoria went 2-for-5 in his first game since he was hit by J.J. Putz's pitch on Aug. 7, breaking his right wrist. His bases-loaded single off Mussina in the fifth inning gave Tampa Bay a 5-0 lead.

He also made an outstanding diving stop and strong throw on Xavier Nady's two-out grounder with two on in the sixth.

"It's like riding a bike," he cracked.

The Rays pushed across two runs in the sixth. Ben Zobrist hit a sacrifice fly and Ruggiano scored when Giambi threw Carlos Pena's grounder over the head of reliever Dan Giese covering first.

Game notes
Mussina struck out seven to give him 2,800 career Ks, passing Cy Young (2,798) for 19th on the career list. ... It was Ruggiano's first career three-hit game. ... LHP David Price, the top overall pick in the 2007 draft, and OF Jonny Gomes joined Tampa Bay after Triple-A Durham lost in the International League playoffs Friday night. RHPs Mitch Talbot and Jeff Niemann also were promoted and will join the team on Monday in Florida. ... New York recalled RHPs Phil Hughes and David Robertson from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Hughes could start Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox.