"The way we're playing doesn't dictate how I throw the ball. I just didn't throw the ball well enough tonight," he said. "This is one start. I know (the media) blow it up to be a lot more than it really is, but everybody's going to have their bad days. I had mine."
Sabathia (2-2) allowed two runs and seven hits, improving to 2-7 in 12 starts at Tropicana Field since joining the Yankees in 2009.
Brian Roberts, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and rookie Yangervis Solarte drove in two runs each for the Yankees, who have started 10-6 for the fourth consecutive year.
Roberts and Ellsbury both had run-scoring triples, and Derek Jeter hit an RBI single during a three-run second that put the Yankees ahead 4-0.
Alfonso Soriano and McCann made it 6-1 with consecutive homers during the fifth. Solarte added his first major league homer, a two-run shot off Grant Balfour in the ninth.
"I've struggled here, especially against Price," said Sabathia. "These guys came in here swinging. We got off to a good lead. I was just trying to get them back in the dugout."
Tampa Bay got a run in the fourth when Logan Forsythe scored on McCann's passed ball, beating Sabathia's attempted tag at the plate. Rodriguez homered during the seventh.
Rodriguez grounded into a triple play for the second time in his career. The Rays had runners on first and second when Rodriguez hit a hard grounder that Solarte fielded, and he stepped on the third to retire Evan Longoria. Solarte threw to Roberts at second base to get Wil Myers. The play ended when Scott Sizemore, who had not played first base in his previous 658 professional games, made a nice scoop of Roberts' relay throw.
It was the first triple play hit into by the Rays since Rodriguez grounded into one on Aug. 16, 2011, at Boston.
"When you have all these adverse moments, like triple plays and line drives being caught, and then your best pitcher having a bad night, it just happens sometimes," said Rays manager Joe Maddon. "When you start lamenting it or crying about it or feeling sorry for yourself, that's when it gets more profound.
"But for me, just throw this game in the wastebasket; we've got to come out and play a game tomorrow."
New York got a scare during the third inning when right fielder Carlos Beltran flipped over the short wall down the right-field line chasing Desmond Jennings' foul ball. Beltran stayed in the game.
NOTES: Tampa Bay senior adviser Don Zimmer is recovering from seven hours of surgery Wednesday to repair a leaky valve in his heart. ... Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira (right leg) is expected back Sunday, while closer David Robertson (groin) could return Tuesday. ... New York RHP Hiroki Kuroda (2-1) and Tampa Bay LHP Erik Bedard (0-0) are Friday night's scheduled starters.