Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Rays 7, Yankees 4: At last, some offense
Posted Jul 3, 2012 by Roger Mooney
Updated Jul 3, 2012 at 11:51 PM
ST. PETERSBURG The offense showed up and James Shields pitched well enough to help make it all work as the Rays beat the visiting Yankees 7-4 on Tuesday for their second straight victory and ninth straight against the Bombers at the Trop.
Sean Rodriguez hit his first home runs since May 27, a two-run shot in the fifth that gave the Rays the lead for good.
It was the first time in nine games the Rays scored more than four runs and they managed to close the gap on the first-place Yankees to 5 ½ games.
Here are some notes from another big win for the Rays …
—Rodriguez had his first three-hit game of the season and smacked his first home run in 30 games. Four of his last seven hits have either tied the score or given the Rays the lead.
—Jeff Keppinger drove in two runs in the third inning. He has seven RBI in 10 games since coming off the disabled list on June 23. He had eight RBI in 29 games before breaking his right big toe. He is hitting .371 since coming off the DL.
—Desmond Jennings became the seventh Ray to steal home when he swiped the dish on the front end of a double-steal in the seventh inning
—Fernando Rodney pitched a perfect ninth for his 24th save. He has not walked a batter in his past 10 appearances.
—Shields allowed 10 hits, marking the first time a Rays pitcher allowed at least 10 hits in back-to-back starts since he did it May 30 and June 5, 2010. Shields has allowed 40 hits in his last 27 1/3 innings. He improved to 4-1 with a 2.94 ERA in seven career starts against the Yankees at the Trop.
—The Rays are now 20-14 against the AL East and 23-24 against everyone else.
—The Rays nine straight wins against the Yankees at the Trop is the longest such streak by any team against the Yankees in the past 20 years. The Rangers won 15 straight against the Yankees in Arlington from 1989 to 1991.
—The Rays have scored six two-out runs during the series.
—The Rays stole five bases, their most since stealing seven at Boston on Sept. 16, 2011.
—Rodriguez’s homer was the first by a Ray with men on base since Carlos Peña’s three-run shot at Philadelphia on June 24.