03/12/08 4:45 PM ET
Rays stage late rally, edge Yankees
Game marred by benches-clearing incident in second inning
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
at St. Petersburg, Fla.
Wednesday, March 12
Yankees at the plate: Brett Gardner's center-field single drove in two, putting the Yankees up, 5-4, in the eighth. Jorge Posada hit a three-run double in the sixth. The Yankees were hitless until Greg Porter's single in the third. Robinson Cano was 2-for-3 with a double and Melky Cabrera was 1-for-3 with a run scored.
Rays at the plate: In the eighth, the Rays took the lead on John Rodriguez's RBI double, capping a three-run rally. Minor Leaguer Ron Merrill's solo homer, coupled with a sacrifice fly by Willy Aybar, put the Rays ahead, 4-3, in the seventh. Jonny Gomes had an RBI single in his only at-bat in the first inning. Gomes was tossed from the game in a scuffle involving both teams in the second inning. Aki Iwamura was 2-for-2 with a double, a walk and a run scored. Carl Crawford was 1-for-3 with a double and scored a run. Cliff Floyd was 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI.
Yankees on the mound: Lefty Heath Phillips got the start, but only lasted two-thirds of an inning after being ejected by home-plate umpire Chad Fairchild for hitting Evan Longoria with a pitch. Phillips, who was charged with three hits and two runs, was replaced by Scott Patterson. Patterson allowed one hit in 1 1/3 innings, striking out two. LaTroy Hawkins pitched two scoreless innings, giving up three hits. Ross Ohlendorf pitched one inning, retiring all three batters. Sean Henn loaded the bases, allowing two hits, before getting out of the jam unscathed.
Rays on the mound: Andy Sonnanstine got his first start of the spring and a chance to make a case for one of the final two rotation spots. The righty pitched three scoreless innings, retiring the first eight batters in order before allowing a single to Porter. Scott Dohmann allowed one hit and one walk before retiring three straight.
Troy Percival continued to impress, striking out two in one inning. Percival has yet to give up a hit in three spring innings. After giving up back-to-back hits, Brian Anderson removed himself from the game. Anderson was charged with all three sixth-inning runs. Calvin Medlock, who came in to relieve Anderson, allowed one hit over two innings, striking out four.
Grapefruit League records: Rays 8-4, Yankees 7-4-1.Up next for Yankees: The Bombers return home to Legends Field in Tampa, Fla., with righty Mike Mussina getting the nod against Pirates southpaw Paul Maholm. The game, which marks the first spring meeting between the two teams, is scheduled for a 1:15 p.m. ET start.
Up next for Rays: Right-hander Matt Garza gets the start as the Rays play the Red Sox at City of Palms Park in Fort Myers, Fla., on Thursday at 1:05 p.m. Bartolo Colon is expected to start for Boston, with Kyle Synder, Julian Tavarez and Hideki Okajima also slated to pitch. J.P. Howell and Mitch Talbot are scheduled to pitch for Tampa Bay.
Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.