ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Robinson Cano went to the plate with the bases loaded thinking contact.
With one out in the bottom of the eighth in a tied game, he lined a 2-2 fastball from Jake McGee into center field.
That scored Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira, and the Yankees held on for a 4-3 victory Wednesday against the host Tampa Bay Rays.
It was a big hit because the Yankees, with a four-game series looming at Boston this weekend, were able to overcome a stellar outing by David Price and win for the first time at Tropicana Field since last season.
“It’s good to get the monkey off your back,” Cano said. “We were 0-for-9 here in the last nine games. You want to be able to win one and get it over with.”
Shut out through six innings by All-Star-selection Price, the Yankees came back with a solo home run by Teixeira in the seventh and two runs against Kyle Farnsworth (0-1) and McGee in the eighth to avoid a sweep in the three-game series.
It was New York’s first win at the domed Trop since last July 20, ending their longest road losing streak to one team in more than 20 years.
“You don’t want it to carry over, but I don’t think it would have kept me up,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “We lost three here at the start of the year and I think we went 10-4 in the next 14 games. It’s a funny game.”
Teixeira’s leadoff homer off Price in the seventh tied the game at 1-1, but Carlos Pena’s two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh put the Rays back ahead 3-1.
Pena’s 13th homer, his fifth in his last 16 games, came on a first pitch slider from Boone Logan (3-0), who got the win despite giving up the lead.
But the Yankees benefitted from Farnsworth, who came off the 60-day disabled list last Saturday, not being able to find the strike zone.
Farnsworth walked the bases loaded around striking out Derek Jeter, and then walked Alex Rodriguez to allow a run.
McGee came on with the bases still loaded, got ahead of Cano 1-2, but then gave up the game-winning hit.
“That was pretty bad,” said Farnsworth, who is slated to play a key late-inning role for the Rays. “You just have to go back out there and forget about it and keep going. I felt good. Some pitches were just close.”
It was a tough non-decision for Price, who was going for an American League-leading 12th win. The lefty allowed only one run on four hits with eight strikeouts through seven innings.
"I knew it was going to be tough to score on him after you saw him go through the first three innings,” Girardi said. “That’s the best I’ve seen his curveball. When you add it with the other stuff -- his fastball is up to 98, his backdoor cutter and changeup -- he had his stuff today.”
Sean Rodriguez gave the Rays a 1-0 lead in the fourth with an RBI single after Ben Zobrist walked and stole second, but the Yankees kept the game close with their own stout pitching.
David Phelps, starting because CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte are in the disabled list, allowed only a run on two hits while striking out eight in 4 1/3 innings. He did walk three and ran up a high pitch count.
Cody Eppley got two big outs in the fifth, and David Robertson (1-3) and Rafael Soriano (19th save) shut the door in the eighth and ninth.
The Rays struck out a season-high 16 times and had four players strike out three times, including Brooks Conrad, who replaced cleanup-hitting Jeff Keppinger after the infielder was hit by a Phelps pitch early in the game.
“It was difficult, but we did win two out of three games against a really good baseball team,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
NOTES: The Yankees claimed outfielder Darnell McDonald off waivers from the Red Sox and plan to have him in uniform Friday at Fenway Park. McDonald, who’ll provide depth while Brett Gardner continues to rehab from an elbow injury, hit .214 with two homers and nine RBIs in 38 games this season. … The Yankees’ Rodriguez is 7-for-7 in stolen bases this season and has been successful in his last 11 stolen base attempts dating to May 13, 2011, his longest streak since 2008. … Soriano improved to 19 for 20 in save opportunities, including 3-for-3 against the Rays. … The Rays lost for only the second time this season when leading after seven innings. … Rays right fielder Matt Joyce (left oblique strain) began a two-game Triple-A rehab assignment Wednesday. … Outfielder Sam Fuld, who hasn’t played since spring training because of wrist surgery, will start a rehab assignment Saturday at high Class A on Saturday.
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