Nomo drops Yankees to 5-9

NEW YORK (AP) -- Randy Johnson couldn't keep the New York Yankees

from falling into a tie for last place in the AL East.

Eduardo Perez hit two home runs off Johnson, Hideo Nomo pitched

effectively into the sixth inning on three days' rest and the Devil

Rays ended an 11-game losing streak at Yankee Stadium with a 6-2

victory over New York on Tuesday night.

"This is the type of game that'll give us a confidence boost,"

Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said. "Hideo Nomo did an excellent

job of pitching; we played flawless on the field, too."

Nomo and three relievers limited the Yankees to nine hits, one

night after they battered Tampa Bay for 20 hits and 19 runs.

The Devil Rays' first win in New York since Sept. 14, 2003, was

the Yankees' fifth loss in six games and dropped the AL East

champions to 5-9 -- the same record as Tampa Bay.

Johnson (1-1) has allowed five homers over two consecutive

outings for the first time in his career, according to the Elias

Sports Bureau.

"He pitched well enough to win," said Yankees shortstop Derek

Jeter, who made a key error. "He just had a little problem with


Nomo (2-1) was pitching on three days' rest for the first time

in 302 starts, the longest a starter has gone in major league

history without going on short rest. Nomo was replacing Mark

Hendrickson, who has inflammation in his left shoulder and will go

on the disabled list Wednesday.

"It wasn't really a concern to me," Nomo said of pitching on

short rest. "Last game I didn't pitch too much."

Nomo lasted just two awful innings on Friday night at Boston,

giving up eight runs.

On Tuesday he stayed ahead in the count, and for the first time

in his career, Nomo confounded Yankees batters with his twisting

pitching motion that takes a lengthy pause just before uncoiling

and delivering. Nomo had an ERA of 6.82 against New York coming in,

but he limited the Yankees to six hits and a run in 5 2-3 innings.

His lone mistake was Jason Giambi's homer to right in the second.

"Nomo Kept us off stride," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.

"He just keeps you from hitting it on the fat part of the bat."

He also got help from a perfectly executed relay to get Tony

Womack trying to score from first with two outs in the fifth inning

on Jeter's double to right-center.

Right fielder Aubrey Huff cut off Jeter's drive in the gap and

made an accurate throw to second baseman Jorge Cantu, who made the

relay to catcher Toby Hall. He had plenty of time to block the

plate and tag a sliding Womack.

"It was awesome," Hall said. "I just wanted to make sure to

block the plate."

Trever Miller got an out in the sixth and gave up three straight

hits and a run in the seventh before Travis Harper relieved and

induced Jeter to hit into a nifty double play. Miller pitched the

eighth and Danys Baez the ninth.

Johnson had no trouble with the Devil Rays' lineup except for

Perez, who hadn't homered since April 10, 2004. He gave up four

other hits -- two in the eighth -- and struck out eight. Johnson hit

two batters and walked none.

"I'm disappointed, no doubt about it," he said.

The Big Unit has not won since beating Boston 9-2 on opening


Johnson was removed for Tom Gordon with one out in the eighth

after shortstop Jeter's error on Huff's spinning grounder allowed

Carl Crawford to score and make it 4-2.

"I thought he was better tonight than in his other starts,"

Torre said.

Johnson gave up six runs -- five earned -- and has given up at

least five runs in each of his last three starts.

Gordon gave up hits to the first two batters he faced. Pinch

hitting for Perez, Travis Lee had an RBI single to right field, but

was thrown out by Gary Sheffield trying to stretch the hit into a

double. Cantu made it 6-2 with a run-scoring single.

The crowd of 45,802 booed Gordon heartily.

Perez, son of Hall of Famer Tony Perez, followed Huff's single

in the fourth inning to make it 2-1. He hit a leadoff homer in the

seventh, which bounced off the top of the wall.<

In the ninth inning, Hall hit a liner back to Yankees closer

Mariano Rivera, who deflected the ball with his pitching hand.

Torre said Rivera was OK.Game notes
The Devil Rays will call up RHP John Webb from Triple-A

Durham to start against Texas on Wednesday. ... Johnson gave up six

runs -- five earned. ... Womack's run-scoring single in the seventh

inning was his first RBI for the Yankees.