ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFAN/AP) — A lost fly ball and a misplayed grounder cost the New York Yankees.
Jeremy Hellickson pitched seven strong innings and Tampa Bay took advantage of sloppy New York defense to score two runs that gave the Rays a 3-2 victory over the Yankees on Tuesday night.
“It’s an unfortunate way to lose a ballgame,” New York manager Joe Girardi said. “We kind of gave them the game. You’re going to have physical errors and you’re going to lose ballgames, obviously. It’s going to happen. These guys are not going to be perfect. But you don’t like these kind of losses.”
Hellickson (9-7) retired 13 of 15 batters after giving up a two-run homer to Robinson Cano in the third inning, helping his team stay close until the sputtering Rays offense could finally break through against Bartolo Colon.
Robinson Chirinos and Sean Rodriguez singled, chasing Colon (6-6) with one out in the seventh. That’s when things really went awry for New York.
Center fielder Curtis Granderson lost pinch-hitter Justin Ruggiano’s fly in the Tropicana Field roof for a single off Boone Logan that loaded the bases.
“It went up and I lost it right away,” Granderson said. “When I finally found it, I was too deep. Just one of those things. It disappeared up there in the top of the roof here at the dome. It wasn’t the lights. I’m not sure if it was the roof, or the catwalks or something up there. It blended in really well.”
It looked as though the Yankees might escape the jam when the next batter — pinch-hitter Elliot Johnson — hit a tailor-made, double-play grounder back to the mound, but the ball glanced off Logan’s glove for an error that enabled the Rays to tie it at 2.
“Well, there was nothing quirky about my error,” Logan said. “I think you take that away, we’re winning the game. The fly ball to Curtis, what are you going to do? You lose a lot of balls in this stadium. It just kind of started from there.”
Rodriguez raced home from third for the go-ahead run on Johnny Damon’s sacrifice fly to shallow center. Granderson charged in to make a sliding catch, scrambled to his feet but threw wildly to the plate.
Rebounding from allowing eight runs in two-thirds of an inning at Toronto in New York’s first game after the All-Star break, Colon took a three-hitter into the seventh. He walked two and struck out a season-high nine.
“I was extremely happy with the way he threw,” Girardi said. “That’s what we want to see.”
Hellickson won his second straight start following a four-game losing streak, yielding two runs and five hits while walking one and striking out seven. Jake McGee pitched a scoreless eighth and Joel Peralta worked a perfect ninth for his first save.
Cano’s 16th homer ended a stretch of four consecutive games in which the Yankees failed to hit a home run, the club’s longest streak this season.
Colon limited the Rays to one hit until Sam Fuld tripled to center with one out in the fifth and scored on Reid Brignac’s single to right. The 38-year-old right-hander gave up a single to B.J. Upton and walked two in the first three innings, but none of those runners advanced beyond first base.
Hellickson regrouped after Cano’s homer to retire 12 in a row before Brett Gardner singled and Eduardo Nunez walked with two outs in the seventh. After a double steal, the rookie right-hander finished his night by getting Derek Jeter to ground out.
NOTES: Granderson was icing his left ankle after the game, but didn’t expect it to be an issue. He was hit by a pitch in the first. .. The Yankees placed RHP Sergio Mitre on the 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation and recalled LHP Steve Garrison from Double-A Trenton. … New York RHP Rafael Soriano (right elbow inflammation) allowed two runs and two hits over 1 1-3 innings in his first game with Class-A Tampa. INF Eric Chavez (broken left foot) was the DH in the same game and went 0 for 3 with a walk … New York RHP Ivan Nova left a start at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre because of an ankle injury. Girardi didn’t have any additional information postgame. … New York is 12-13 in one-run games.
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