ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays got greedy when they earned the opportunity to sweep the New York Yankees on Sunday. That’s why they were a little disappointed by a 3-2 loss in 11 innings.
“Two victories and a chance to sweep, you want to step on their throat and finish them off,” starting pitcher Alex Cobb said.
Alfonso Soriano started New York’s winning rally with a one-out double off Jamey Wright (2-2) in the 11th. He stole third and scored on Curtis Granderson’s sacrifice fly to center.
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The Rays, who had won eight of ten and began the day in a virtual tie with Boston for the top spot in the AL East, came away with some satisfaction at taking the big series, but wanted more.
“When you win the first two you really want to go all the way,” manager Joe Maddon said. “But I’ll always take two out of three in this game against a really good other team.”
Mariano Rivera, making his last regular-season appearance at Tropicana Field, received a standing ovation before getting the final three outs for his 38th save. The closer is planning to retire after this season.
Boone Logan (4-2) got two outs for the win.
Pinch hitter Alex Rodriguez opened the 10th with a single to center off Wright and went to second on Brett Gardner’s sacrifice. Rodriguez then was doubled off second after Wright grabbed a line drive by Ichiro Suzuki that appeared headed toward center field.
Rodriguez, who is appealing his 211-game suspension by Major League Baseball, was booed every time he came to the plate during the series. He went 2 for 9 with two strikeouts.
Evan Longoria homered and drove in two runs for the Rays. Maddon seemed most upset with Soriano’s big steal.
“We just can’t permit the stolen base at third base,” Maddon said. “That’s really what caused the win for them.”
New York got a homer and two RBIs from Robinson Cano.
Longoria and Cano went back and forth for much of the game before Granderson delivered his key sacrifice fly.
Longoria put the Rays up 1-0 with an RBI single in the first. Yankees starter Ivan Nova avoided further damage by getting an inning-ending double play from James Loney with the bases loaded.
Cano then hit an opposite-field homer to left in the fourth and a tiebreaking RBI double against Cobb in the sixth. He was easily thrown out attempting to stretch the hit into a triple.
Longoria responded with his 28th homer in the bottom half.
Nova allowed six hits and tied a career high with six walks in 6 2-3 innings.
Cobb gave up seven hits in his third start after missing two months after being struck in the head by a liner hit by Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer on June 15. But it was Cano’s 24th homer that particularly bothered him.
“Probably one of the dumber pitches of my career, just poorly executed and poorly thought out,” Cobb said. “He obviously did what he does with mistake pitches.”
NOTES: The Yankees plan to activate SS Derek Jeter (strained right calf) from the disabled list for Monday’s game at Toronto. … Tampa Bay All-Star LHP Matt Moore (sore left elbow) is scheduled to pitch in a minor league game Thursday and could rejoin the rotation next week. …. … The announced crowd was 34,078, which was just the Rays’ third home sellout this season.