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.