Gomes hit a ball off the top of the right field wall in the 2nd inning and went into a home run trot. Only the ball was still in play and Bobby Abreu easily threw out a befuddled Gomes. The right fielder then lost Hideki Matsui's fly ball in the sun/wind/clear sky for an error. It lead to a bases loaded situation that Rays starter Edwin Jackson was able to escape run-free.
Gomes' sac fly had given the Rays a 2-1 lead in the 3rd and came up with two men on in the 5th. A tiring Pettitte left a pitch up and Gomes hit a drive that just cleared the wall in left (perhaps the Yankees should hire Dave Winfield to teach Hideki Matsui how to leap) for a decisive 3-run home run.
It was decisive because the Yankees continue not to hit with runners in scoring position. They had taken a quick 1-0 lead in the 1st inning on a walk to Johnny Damon and Alex Rodriguez's 2-out RBI double. But Jason Giambi flew out to end the inning.
Singles by Jorge Posada and Shelley Duncan, sandwiched around Gomes' error, loaded the bases in the 2nd, but Damon popped out to shortstop and Derek Jeter struck out. The Yankees put two men on with 2 out in the 3rd, but Posada flew out to deep left to end the frame.
Trailing 6-1 in the 8th, the Yankees finally got a key hit before another rally fell short against reliever Trever Miller. The Bombless Bombers loaded the bases on consecutive singles by Abreu, A-Rod, and Wilson Betemit, who had replaced Jason Giambi as DH. Robinson Cano, just a .228 hitter with the bases loaded, struck out, but Posada delivered a 2-run single up the middle to cut the lead in half. Miller came back to strike out Matsui looking and Al Reyes came on to retire Duncan on an inning ending ground out. Troy Percival recorded his 1st save, retiring the Yankees in order in the 9th.
Pettitte was average in his start of the season. Gomes' base running cost the Rays as Pettitte allowed 2 more hits in the inning. He threw 86 pitches, allowed 8 hits, 5 runs (3 earned due to a Shelley Duncan throwing error), walked 2, and struck out 3.
“There’s no doubt I was rusty,” said Pettitte, who hadn’t pitched since he went six innings in a minor league game last Sunday.Not as rusty as the Yankees bats.
News and Notes
As we speculated, Jon Albaladejo, who threw 2.2 inninngs on Friday, was sent down to Scranton to make room on the 25-man roster for Pettitte.
Jason Giambi left the game when he felt something pull in his groin. Acting manager Rob Thomson removed him immediately and Giambi was confident he would be able to play today.
Joe Girardi sat out again with a respiratory infection, but believes he'll be back on the bench today.
Brian Bruney pitched a dominant 2 innings, striking out 4 of the 6 batters he faced.
Ross Ohlendorf allowed the final Rays run, a solo home run by Willie Aybar, in his one inning of work.
2B: Bartlett (1, Pettitte).
HR: Gomes (1, 5th inning off Pettitte, 2 on, 1 out), Aybar (1, 8th inning off Ohlendorf, 0 on, 0 out).
TB: Iwamura; Upton; Gomes 5; Aybar 4; Bartlett 3; Riggans; Johnson.
RBI: Upton (4), Gomes 4 (4), Aybar (1).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Johnson; Bartlett; Riggans.
Team LOB: 6.
SB: Upton (1, 2nd base off Pettitte/Posada).
CS: Johnson (1, 2nd base by Pettitte/Posada).
PO: Johnson (1st base by Pettitte).
E: Gomes (1, fielding).
a-Struck out for Giambi in the 5th.
2B: Rodriguez (2, Jackson).
TB: Abreu; Rodriguez 3; Betemit; Cano; Posada 2; Matsui; Duncan.
RBI: Rodriguez (4), Posada 2 (2).
2-out RBI: Rodriguez.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Giambi; Jeter 2; Posada; Duncan.
Team LOB: 9.
E: Duncan (1, throw).
Outfield assists: Abreu (Gomes at 2nd base).
Pickoffs: Pettitte (Johnson at 1st base).
HBP: Pena (by Pettitte), Pena (by Pettitte).
Pitches-strikes: Jackson 102-62, Wheeler 7-7, Miller 22-16, Reyes 7-6, Percival 13-10, Pettitte 86-55, Bruney 30-19, Ohlendorf 20-16.
Ground outs-fly outs: Jackson 4-10, Wheeler 2-1, Miller 0-0, Reyes 1-0, Percival 0-2, Pettitte 7-3, Bruney 2-0, Ohlendorf 2-3.
Batters faced: Jackson 26, Wheeler 3, Miller 6, Reyes 1, Percival 3, Pettitte 26, Bruney 6, Ohlendorf 7.
Inherited runners-scored: Reyes 2-0.
Umpires: HP: Dana DeMuth. 1B: Ted Barrett. 2B: James Hoye. 3B: Doug Eddings.
Weather: 55 degrees, partly cloudy.
Wind: 16 mph, L to R.