NEW YORK -- Desperate for a win as the Tampa Bay Rays stood on the cusp of slipping out of the playoff race, David Price gave the Rays the type of ace-like effort the New York Yankees haven't been able to get from CC Sabathia lately.
Price gave up the 3,284th hit of Derek Jeter's career in the fifth, pushing the Yankees captain past Willie Mays for 10th place on the all-time hit list, but limited New York to two runs in seven innings in Tampa Bay's 6-4 win Friday night. The Rays' slumping offense woke up against Sabathia, and Fernando Rodney thwarted a late Yankees rally for a five-out save as Tampa Bay rebounded after dropping three straight at the Baltimore Orioles.
The Rays' win moved them within three games of the Yankees for at least the second wild card spot. New York fell a half-game behind the Orioles in the AL East, pending Baltimore's late game against the Oakland A's, who hold the lead for the top wild card spot.
"That was a big win," Price said. "This is a tough place to come in; it was a big game for us. (To face) CC and that lineup, it was a big win for us."
B.J. Upton homered for Tampa Bay, Ben Zobrist's two-out single chased Sabathia in the seventh and Chris Gimenez had two doubles for the Rays, who took the lead for good with a three-run fifth.
The Yankees picked up a couple of impressive milestones to pass two of the game's biggest legends, but it wasn't enough for the victory.
Jeter received a loud ovation after he passed Mays, before adding another single in the eighth.
"It's nice. Our fans are the best fans in the world; I've always said that," Jeter said. "They appreciate a lot of our history. We need to score some runs. It's nice. It's a good feeling, but we're trying to win games here."
Alex Rodriguez's two-run homer off Joel Peralta gave the Yankees a chance to do that, bringing them within 5-4 in the eighth. It also gave Rodriguez his 1,889th career run scored. That pushed him past Lou Gehrig for ninth place on baseball's all-time list.
After Peralta walked Robinson Cano to put the tying run on base, Rays manager Joe Maddon went to Rodney, who threw 18 pitches Thursday night. However, he hadn't pitched in the previous four games. Rodney struck out Russell Martin and, after a wild pitch moved Cano to second, got pinch hitter Raul Ibanez to ground out to end the inning.
The Rays scored on a two-out error by shortstop Eduardo Nunez in the ninth to go up 6-4, before Rodney pitched a perfect ninth for his 43rd save of the season.
Price (18-5) allowed five hits, striking out six and walking two, in his first start since Sept. 2 due to shoulder soreness.
"He was really good. He kept getting better," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I thought seven (innings), 105 (pitches) was plenty for the first start back. I felt really good about that."
Sabathia (13-6) gave up four runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings to lose his third straight decision. The ace known for putting playoff contenders on his back in the final month was humbled again, insisting he feels healthy after earlier stints on the disabled list and saying the time to depend on his track record has past.
"We keep talking about it," Sabathia said of his history of success in stretch runs. "It's time for it to show up."
Trailing 1-0, the Rays took a 3-1 lead in the fifth, after scoring just two runs apiece in their last three games. Gimenez doubled to lead off the inning before Carlos Pena walked and Johnson followed with a RBI single to tie the score. Leadoff hitter Desmond Jennings singled in a run to make it 2-1 before Zobrist walked.
The Yankees turned a 5-5-3 double play on Evan Longoria, but that scored another run before Upton flied out to end the inning.
"To get a few runs off a guy like that, especially coming off what we did the last three games," Gimenez said. "To come back like that was awesome."
Curtis Granderson smacked his 38th homer of the season just over the outstretched glove of center fielder B.J. Upton and off the top of the wall to pull the Yankees within 3-2 in the bottom of the fifth.
The Yankees threatened for more when Nunez singled off the knee of third base umpire Jerry Meals, who made the infamous blown outcall when replays indicated Mark Teixeira was safe on a game-ending double play in Baltimore last week.
Jeter then followed with his milestone hit to pass Mays, a hard shot off second baseman Elliot Johnson's glove.
But Price got Nick Swisher on a deep fly to left and Rodriguez on a groundout.
The Yankees took a 1-0 lead in the second on a two-out RBI single by Steve Pearce.
Sabathia had allowed 13 runs in his last 20 1/3 innings entering the game, but shut out the slumping Rays for the first four innings.
Notes: Jeter is expected to play through a bone bruise in his left ankle the rest of the season. Jeter, who chafes at the prospect of discussing injuries, started as the DH on Friday night. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said after the game if Jeter continued improving he could be back at shortstop "pretty soon." ... Left-hander Andy Pettitte (fractured left ankle) "did great" in throwing a bullpen and several other baseball activities Friday, manager Joe Girardi said, adding Pettitte appeared ready to finally return next Tuesday. ... With the Rays struggling offensively and several hitters having good numbers against Sabathia, Maddon shuffled his lineup, putting Longoria, Upton and Jeff Keppinger in the 3-4-5 spots.
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