Yankees Come Close, But Fall to Rays in Finale

A.J. MartelliSenior Analyst ISeptember 4, 2008

The New York Yankees lost to the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday night by a score of 7-5, in the final game of a three game set. Darrell Rasner took the ball for the Yankees and was not good. He pitched a measly 1.1 innings, gave up five earned runs on six hits, walked two, and struck out one.

Scott Kazmir started for the Rays and gave them a good start. He went six innings, gave up no runs on one hit, walked five, and fanned seven. The Rays jumped all over Rasner in the bottom of the second. Gabe Gross doubled to score Eric Hinske, Jason Bartlett hit a sacrifice fly to score Dioner Navarro, and Akinori Iwamura singled to score Gross, giving the Rays a 3-0 lead.

Later in the frame, Willy Aybar singled to score Iwamura and B.J. Upton, and the Rays took a 5-0 lead. Aybar struck again in the bottom of the fourth with a solo homer off reliever Alfredo Aceves, his ninth on the year, and the Rays went up 6-0.

The Rays added one more run in the bottom of the eighth, getting a sacrifice fly from Upton to score Iwamura, and the Rays took a 7-0 lead. The Yankees made it interesting in the top of the ninth. Cody Ransom singled to score Ivan Rodriguez, with Ransom and Johnny Damon on base, Derek Jeter smacked a three-run homer, his 9th of the season, and the Yankees trailed 7-4.

After Jeter's homer, Alex Rodriguez came up and clubbed long, solo homer, his 32nd of the year and 550th of his career, as the Yankees went with back-to-back jacks. With his homer, Rodriguez is the youngest player in the history of baseball to hit that 550 home runs, passing Babe Ruth by two years.

With two outs and the Yankees trailing 7-5, Xavier Nady flew out to center to end the game. Kazmir gets the win, and improves to 11-6. Rasner loses and is now 5-10. He has not won a game since June. "I didn't have it tonight, it was a struggle," Rasner told the media after the game. "I just couldn't find it, I'm ashamed of myself and embarrassed."

The Yankees won the series over Tampa Bay but now fall to seven and a half games behind the idle Red Sox. Now the Yankees will go to Seattle to open up a three game weekend series against the Mariners. The Bombers will look to continue their successful playing against the Mariners, as they are currently 6-0 vs. Seattle this year.

Tomorrow night at 10:10 ET, Andy Pettitte (13-11, 4.52 ERA) will start for the Yankees against Brandon Morrow (1-2, 1.47 ERA).