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April 24, 2007
Yanks in cellar
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Alex Rodriguez's 23-game hitting streak is over. The New York Yankees can't say the same about a slide that's dropped them into last place.
Tampa Bay pitching cooled off A-Rod, and Carl Crawford hit his first career grand slam rallied the Devil Rays over Chien-Ming Wang and the Yankees 6-4 Tuesday night, extending the Yankees' losing streak to five games.
A night after hitting his 13th and 14th homers to tie the major league record for home runs in April, Rodriguez went 0-for-3 with a walk against Scott Kazmir and Shawn Camp, who struck out the New York slugger in final at-bat. Rodriguez had hit safely in 18 consecutive games to start the season and 23 straight dating to last September.
Wang (0-1) allowed four runs and nine hits in 6 2-3 innings after being activated from the disabled list earlier in the day. He departed after Dioner Navarro singled and B.J. Upton doubled to start the Devil Rays' seventh.
Reliever Luis Vizcaino walked Rocco Baldelli intentionally to load the bases. One out later, Crawford lined a 2-2 pitch into the right-field stands to erase a 3-2 deficit and give Tampa Bay a two-game sweep, its first series victory since the Devil Rays took two of three from Seattle last Sept. 1-3. Crawford went 4-for-4.
Juan Salas (1-1) got one out in relief of Kazmir, and Al Reyes pitched the ninth for his seventh save in seven chances.
The Yankees (8-11), on their longest losing streak since a six-game slide from May 28 to June 3, 2005, went 0-5 on a trip that began with three losses at Boston and dropped into the AL East cellar, one-half game behind the Devil Rays. Tampa Bay swept New York for just second time in 52 series.
Yankees captain Derek Jeter left with a bruised left thigh after being hit in the side of the leg by a pitch in the first inning. He was checked by a trainer and spoke with manager Joe Torre before walking to first base and remaining in the game until New York took the field for the bottom of the first.
New York opens a two-game series at home against Toronto on Wednesday, and planned to start 20-year-old Phil Hughes on Thursday in his major league debut.
Kazmir rebounded from a poor outing in which he threw 102 pitches in four innings of a 6-4 loss to Baltimore last week. He gave up a second-inning leadoff homer to Hideki Matsui and a single to Jorge Posada before retiring 12 in a row.
The Devil Rays took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on Delmon Young's broken-bat RBI grounder and Carlos Pena's run-scoring single. Despite clinging a one-run lead, Kazmir was in control until opening the door for the Yankees with a throwing error after fielding Matsui's grounder to the mound with one out in the seventh.
Posada doubled to right-centerfield, driving in Matsui from first, and New York went ahead 3-2 on Josh Phelps' two-out RBI single. Matsui drove in New York's final run with a single in the eighth.
Wang had been out since March 23, when he hurt his right hamstring while running.
ASSOCIATED PRESS --
Posted by Thom Cahir at 10:24 PM to Pro Baseball
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