ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- The Boss didn't stick around for the
The New York Yankees tumbled to their lowest point in a decade
Wednesday night, losing their second straight to the last-place
Tampa Bay Devil Rays -- this time 11-8 with owner George
Steinbrenner watching part of the game from his suite at Tropicana
"We're just not playing good. There's really nothing else you
can say," captain Derek Jeter said. "We're not doing the job,
The loss was the sixth in eight games for New York, which made
significant lineup changes the previous night to try to break out
of a rut. The Yankees are six games under .500 for the first time
since after games of July 19, 1995, when they were 34-40.
At 11-17, the Yankees are just a game ahead of fifth-place Tampa
Bay, which stopped an eight-game losing streak by beating up on
Kevin Brown on Tuesday night. The Devil Rays scored 22 runs in
their first consecutive victories over New York in almost two
years, despite hitting just one homer.
Rookie Damon Hollins led the way, going 3-for-3 with a solo
homer and four RBI. The Devil Rays also took advantage of a
throwing error by new Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, which
led to a four-run third against Sean Henn (0-1), making his major
league debut as a fill-in for Randy Johnson.
"Hitting is contagious," Hollins said. "You know you've got
to score a lot of runs against those guys and just kind of keep
pounding them. That's what we did tonight."
Cano was brought up from Triple-A Columbus as part of the
shakeup manager Joe Torre instituted in hopes of turning the
Yankees around. Cano had his first two major league hits, but New
York never fully recovered from his error, which cost two runs.
The Yankees also weren't helped in the third when Tony Womack,
moved to left field to make room for Cano at second, appeared to
take a bad angle on a ball that went over his head and bounced to
the wall for a RBI double.
"It's not a good time for the Yankees," said general manager
Brian Cashman, who watched the game from Steinbrenner's suite.
"We'll grind through it, I promise you that."
Alex Rodriguez and Tino Martinez hit solo homers off Hideo Nomo,
who lasted just 4 2-3 innings despite being staked to an 8-2 lead.
The Yankees chased the Devil Rays starter with three runs in the
fifth on Gary Sheffield's RBI double and Hideki Matsui's two-run
Nomo allowed five runs and seven hits. Casey Fossum (2-1) worked
1 1-3 innings for the victory, and Danys Baez got four outs to earn
his second save after New York rallied for two runs in the eighth
to trim its deficit to 10-8.
Yankees designated hitter Jason Giambi left in the eighth inning
after being hit in the side of the head by a pitch from Trever
Miller, a ball that glanced off his shoulder before knocking off
his helmet. He leaned over for a moment, but remained standing and
walked off the field under his own power.
Giambi was examined in the trainer's room before being taken to
St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa for further evaluation.
"They think he's fine," Cashman said, adding that Giambi
experienced some ringing in his ear and blurred vision. "They're
just doing this as a precaution."
Henn was recalled from Double-A Trenton to replace Johnson, who
was scratched because of stiffness in his left groin. His stay will
be brief, though, because the Big Unit is confident he'll be able
to make his next scheduled start, on Monday.
The 24-year-old left-hander gave up two runs in the second and
four in the third, when Cano's throwing error allowed two runs to
score. Josh Phelps and Alex Gonzalez followed with RBI doubles to
make it 6-2 and finish Henn's debut after 72 pitches.
"This is when you're measured, when you struggle," Torre said.
"We certainly have to find a way to get it done. There's no secret
formula. ... You just have to keep coming out here until you get a
Henn was optioned to Columbus after the game. RHP Tanyon
Sturtze (ribs) was activated from the 15-day DL. ... Tampa Bay is
guaranteed at least a split of the four-game series. The Devil Rays
have never taken a series from the Yankees under manager Lou
Piniella. ... Rodriguez's homer was the 391st of his career.