Rays allow 2 runs in ninth, fall to Yankees

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The last thing David Price won was the Cy Young Award, and it’s starting to get old.

After Tuesday night’s 4-3 loss to the New York Yankees, the Tampa Bay Rays have lost all five of Price’s starts this season. This loss broke a four-game winning streak for the Rays.

Price (0-2) didn’t like being lifted after giving up a leadoff single to Robinson Cano in the ninth inning.

“I faced one of the best hitters in the game of baseball, I can get the other guys out as well,” he said. “I want to be in that game. It’s like it’s my game to lose.

“We’re still 0-5 when I pitch. I don’t feel good.”

The 27-year-old left-hander got a little testy after being asked about his velocity. The last of his five strikeouts came on a 94 mph fastball.

“First and foremost, I’m not worried about velocity,” Price said. “I get asked every five days or whatever it is. I’m not worried about that. April was my lowest month velocity-wise last year. It’s no different. I feel fine. I’ve got to make better pitches, I guess.”

The only other team to lose the first five starts made by a reigning Cy Young winner was the 1989 Minnesota Twins. They lost in Frank Viola’s first seven starts before finally winning on May 9 that year. The Rays had never before lost five straight starts by Price.

“Starters live and die by wins and losses,” said manager Joe Maddon. “I thought he threw the ball really well tonight, so if he throws the ball like that and we had scored four runs tonight he walks away and feels like he was fantastic. But we don’t score enough runs and he doesn’t feel as good about himself. That’s just how this baseball thing works.”

Ichiro Suzuki hit a go-ahead two-run single after Cano ended Price’s night with the single in the ninth. After Cano stole second on a pitch by Fernando Rodney that struck out Vernon Wells, pinch-hitter Travis Hafner was intentionally walked and Lyle Overbay walked to load the bases. With two out, Suzuki delivered the big hit for a 4-2 Yankees lead.

“For any team, if you can beat their ace it’s a big win,” said Suzuki, who had singled off Price and scored in the eighth. “Obviously the way it went tonight it was definitely a big win.”

David Robertson (1-0) worked a perfect eighth before Mariano Rivera got his sixth save despite allowing Evan Longoria’s leadoff homer.

Tampa Bay took a 2-1 lead in the seventh on Jose Molina’s run-scoring single off Phil Hughes, who allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings.

Ben Zobrist put the Rays up 1-0 on a first inning sacrifice fly.

The Yankees tied it at 1 on Vernon Wells’ RBI single in the fourth, but Price avoided further damage by getting a fly ball from Ben Francisco and Lyle Overbay’s double-play grounder.

NOTES: Maddon’s effort to keep his team loose Tuesday featured a cockatoo, which he had in the clubhouse and later on his shoulder as he held his pregame media session. Before previous games, Maddon had a DJ play music in the clubhouse and a magician do card tricks, and he promised a big animal finale on Wednesday night when the homestand ends. He would not identify the animal, but he did rule out snakes. “I will not be in the clubhouse with a snake,” Maddon said. “Regardless of what people say, I’m not on board with that.” … Yankees INF Kevin Youkilis was out of the starting lineup for the third straight game with lower back tightness. New York manager Joe Girardi expects Youkilis will also miss Wednesday’s series finale with the Rays. … New York SS Derek Jeter will be in a walking boot for a left ankle injury when he rejoins the team Thursday at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees captain found out last Thursday that he fractured the ankle for a second time in six months. … Rays DH Luke Scott went 1-for-4 in the first game of a rehab assignment.