A-Rod's lucky No. 13 -- and 14 -- unlucky for Yanks


• Summary: A-Rod hit his 13th and 14th homers of the year, but the third baseman's big hits weren't enough to pull the Yankees out of a slump.


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• Hero: With the bases loaded and the Rays up just one run in the seventh inning, B.J. Upton doubled to left field to put Tampa Bay up 10-6.

• Figure this: Casey Fossum -- who allowed six runs on 10 hits in just 5 2/3 innings Monday -- has pitched in more games (19) against the Yankees than any other team.

• Figure this II: Before tonight, the Yankees haven't seen a four-game skid since June 8-11.

• Mike & Mike in the Morning: A-Rod's start is remarkable, says Steve Phillips, considering all of the ups and downs he's experienced in New York. As for the Yankees' 8-10 start, Phillps says it's much too early to panic. Insider

• Elias Says: A-Rod is only the third major league player since 1980 to begin a season with a hitting streak of at least 18 games.

-- ESPN.com news services

Devil Rays 10, Yankees 8

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Two more homers by Alex Rodriguez

couldn't stop the struggling New York Yankees from stumbling again.

A-Rod tied the major league record for home runs in April,

hitting his 13th and 14th of the season in a 10-8 loss to the Tampa

Bay Devil Rays on Monday night.

Rocco Baldelli and B.J. Upton offset the Yankees star by

combining to drive in seven runs for Tampa Bay.

"This obviously is a tough time for us, but it's a long season.

We've got to keep working ourselves out of it," Rodriguez said

after the Yankees' fourth consecutive loss on a five-game road trip

that ends Tuesday night.


April powers

Alex Rodriguez set the AL record for April home runs and tied the MLB mark. Here are the top April performances in baseball history:

14 Alex Rodriguez, N.Y. Yankees2007
13 Ken Griffey Jr., Seattle1997
14 Albert Pujols, St. Louis2006
13 Luis Gonzalez, Arizona2001
11 Willie Stargell, Pittsburgh1971
11 Mike Schmidt, Philadelphia1976
11 Gary Sheffield, Florida1996
11 Barry Bonds, San Francisco1996
11 Vinny Castilla, Colorado1998
11 Larry Walker, Colorado2001

"We need a win in the worst way. Again, I think hard work and

grinding through it and supporting your teammates are the most

important things."

Baldelli hit a three-run homer off Kei Igawa (1-1) in the second

inning. Upton lined a solo shot off the left-field foul pole in the

fourth for a 5-3 lead, then added a three-run double off reliever

Luis Vizcaino to finish with a career-high four RBIs.

"Against this team with their lineup, you've really got to

hunker down inning by inning because they're going to keep coming

at you," Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "They're never out

of the game, and it's never comfortable."

The Yankees, swept during a weekend series in Boston, got homers

in the second and ninth innings from A-Rod, whose average rose to

.400 after going 4-for-5 with three RBIs and four runs scored.

The second-inning solo shot off Casey Fossum (2-1) was the 477th

of Rodriguez's career and extended his hitting streak to 18 games

to start this season and 23 in a row dating to last September. The

two-run shot off Al Reyes in the ninth gave him 34 RBIs, tied the

mark for homers in April set by Albert Pujols in 2006 and broke the

AL mark of 13 held by Ken Griffey Jr.

"What he's doing is amazing. I hope he keeps it up," New

York's Johnny Damon said. "The whole team is rallying behind him.

We can't wait until the next time he comes up."

But the Yankees, who have been beset with injuries, are off to

an 8-10 start. Rodriguez said that makes it more difficult to enjoy

what's he accomplished in the first three weeks of the season.

"It's easier to say 'Wow' when we're winning games," he said.

"The key is to not get discouraged. We've got to just keep the

same approach, not try to do too much. If we can keep having that

approach over the long haul, we'll have more wins than losses."

New York pitchers have given up six runs or more in five

straight games and nine of 18 this season. In his fourth start

since leaving Japan to sign with the Yankees, allowed seven runs

and eight hits in 4 1-3 innings.

"You know it's going to get better. We're a team. We win

together. We lose together," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.

"Everybody is playing their tails off. You go out there and score

eight runs, it certainly should be enough. We just haven't been

able to make it."

Rodriguez lined a 2-2 pitch into the left-field stands off

Fossum, who also yielded a solo homer to Robinson Cano in the

fifth. The Devil Rays left-hander allowed six runs and 10 hits in 5

2-3 innings and benefited from the Yankees hitting into four double


Derek Jeter singled in the seventh inning, giving him a 14-game

hitting streak. He and Hideki Matsui, activated from the disabled

list earlier Monday, drove in runs for the Yankees with sacrifice


Josh Phelps drew a bases-loaded walk and Jason Giambi added an

RBI single as New York pulled within 7-6 in the sixth. But the

Yankees bullpen couldn't keep the Devil Rays from pulling away


Tampa Bay loaded the bases in the seventh on a double and two

walks. Upton doubled down the left-field line and all three runners

scored easily.

The Yankees had one more chance, loading the bases with one out

in the eighth. Devil Rays reliever Brian Stokes escaped by getting

pinch-hitter Damon to foul to third and striking out Melky Cabrera.

"Our team should not lose four games in a row," Damon said.

"It happens, but we're supposed to be better than this."

Game notes
Phil Hughes, the Yankees' top minor league pitching

prospect, will make his major league debut Thursday against

Toronto. The 20-year-old right-hander is 2-1 with a 3.94 ERA in

three starts at Triple-A Scranton. ... To make room on the roster

for Matsui, out since April 7 with a strained left hamstring, the

Yankees optioned LHP Chase Wright to Double-A Trenton. Wright made

his second big league start Sunday night and became the second

major league pitcher to allow homers to four consecutive batters.

... Fossum has pitched in more games (19) against the Yankees than

any other team. He's 5-4 in 10 career starts against them. ... NFL

quarterbacks Chris Simms and Brian Griese threw out the ceremonial

first pitches.