(Reuters) - Tampa Bay took advantage of a costly New York Yankees error to rally past the American League East leaders 4-3 on Monday, earning a much-needed victory to halt their recent slide.
The Rays trailed 3-2 entering the bottom of the seventh but scraped out a pair of clutch runs to turn the tide.
Pinch-hitter Brooks Conrad delivered the tying RBI double, then scored the game-winning run when Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira missed a ground ball by Elliot Johnson for his first error of the season.
”I didn’t even get leather on it. I just missed it,“ Teixeira told reporters. ”I don’t know what happened. The ball obviously didn’t do what I expected it to do.
“After it goes by, you go, ‘what happened?'”
Matt Moore tossed seven innings to get the win for Tampa Bay, losers of six of their last seven, and their relievers finished the job to help open an important three-game series against a divisional rival on the right note.
“We need this,” said Tampa Bay’s Carlos Pena. “We want to get it going (but) it’s been difficult for us lately. Hopefully we can gain some momentum.”
New York (48-31) leads the American League East by six games and are another half-game ahead of the Rays (42-38).
The visiting Yankees went 2-0 up in the first inning but the Rays tied the game with a pair of home runs by B.J. Upton and Carlos Pena.
The Yankees nudged ahead again in the top of the seventh but could not hold off the home team.
With starting pitchers CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte both on the disabled list, Freddy Garcia made his first start for New York since April 28 and allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings before the bullpen let things slip away.
Editing by Peter Rutherford