ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Roberto Hernandez is struggling to find his old form.
He had his second straight bad outing as Tampa Bay lost to the Yankees 9-4 on Friday night.
Brett Gardner, Lyle Overbay and Jayson Nix each drove in two runs for the Yankees, who roughed up Hernandez (2-5) in the second and fourth innings. Gardner made it 5-0 in the fourth with a two-run home run on a bad sinker, according to Hernandez.
“The sinker didn’t move,” he said, “For tonight it got me in trouble, and in my last start in Baltimore, too. I just have to continue working hard and look to my next opportunity to go to the mound.”
Hernandez gave up five runs, six hits and three walks in four innings. Manager Joe Maddon said he had no plans to remove the 32-year-old right-hander from the Rays rotation after a second straight bad start.
“The body of work prior to that was pretty darn good and the last two have not been as good. The location of the pitches has not been there,” Maddon said. “I don’t anticipate talking about Hernandez (being replaced as a starter).”
The Yankees took a 3-0 lead in the second on Overbay’s two-run double and an RBI single by Nix.
David Phelps (3-2), who retired his first 13 batters before James Loney hit a one-out double in the fifth, allowed four runs and six hits in a career-high 7 2-3 innings. He left in the eighth after being hit on the right arm by a drive up the middle by Ben Zobrist.
Tampa Bay slugger Evan Longoria went 0 for 4 and had his career-best 16-game hitting streak end.
Matt Joyce had an RBI double during the Rays’ three-run sixth.
The Yankees lost Curtis Granderson when he broke the knuckle of his left pinkie finger after getting hit by Cesar Ramos’ pitch in the fifth inning
Granderson had missed the first 38 games of the season with a broken right forearm, the result of a hit by pitch in his first at-bat of spring training.
“I’m not going to speculate (on how long Granderson will be out),” said Yankee manager Joe Girardi. “I talked to him. He’s down. You prepare to play during the course of the season and you get hit in your first at bat in spring training, and then played for a week, and you get hit again. It’s not what he probably had in mind this year.”
Tampa Bay’s Matt Moore will look Saturday to become the fifth-youngest pitcher since 1916 to start a season 9-0 exclusively as a starter. The 23-year old left-hander will go against Vidal Nuno (1-1).
According to the Rays, if Moore gets the win Saturday, only Ken Holtzman (1967), Livan Hernandez (1997), Roger Clemens (1986) and Jered Weaver (2006) will have accomplished the feat at a younger age.
NOTES: The Rays are 15-3 in games started by Moore and Alex Cobb, and 9-20 in other games this season . . . Maddon said AL Cy Young Award winner David Price, who went on the 15-day disabled list May 16 with a left triceps strain, is getting well. “I don’t have any kind of finish line there yet,” Maddon said.