CC shelled in third straight outing as Rays rout Yankees, 10-6

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Mark Bonifacio/New York Daily News

CC Sabathia’s struggles continue, allowing seven runs in his third straight start.

RAYS 10, YANKEES 6

The Yankees finally began to address their season-long desperation for a viable right-handed bat Friday.

But unless Alfonso Soriano has ideas about how to help would-be ace CC Sabathia figure out this awful three-start stretch he’s mired in, the Yankees aren’t likely to be serious contenders in the American League anyway.

Alfonso Soriano steps into the batter's box in pinstripes for the first time since 2003.

Mark Bonifacio/New York Daily News

Alfonso Soriano steps into the batter’s box in pinstripes for the first time since 2003.

Sabathia was tagged for six of his seven earned runs in the second inning and the Soriano-infused lineup mustered little resistance against Tampa righty Jeremy Hellickson as the Yanks were trounced, 10-6, in the opener of a weekend series against the Rays at the Stadium.

Soriano went 0-for-5 with a run scored – including a popup to right with the bases loaded and the Yanks (54-49) trailing by five to end the third inning. The righty slugger officially was acquired a few hours earlier from Chicago with cash considerations for Single-A righty Corey Black.

Derek Jeter (strained quad) is “hopeful” to be activated from the disabled list Saturday to help the listless Yanks, who have dropped seven of 10 to fall 3 ½ games behind Baltimore for the second AL wild-card spot.

The Yankees hope Soriano doesn't join Kevin Youkilis (c.) or Derek Jeter on the DL, as the three look dejected on the bench as the Yankees fall into an early hole.

Howard Simmons/New York Daily News

The Yankees hope Soriano doesn’t join Kevin Youkilis (c.) or Derek Jeter on the DL, as the three look dejected on the bench as the Yankees fall into an early hole.

Hellickson allowed just one run on four hits over six innings as the red-hot Rays won for the 20th time in 23 games to leapfrog the Red Sox, who lost in Baltimore, for first place in the AL East.

Sabathia had spotted the Rays a six-spot before Soriano even came to bat for the first time, giving up three doubles and three singles in second inning, with one of the runs scoring on a throwing error by catcher Chris Stewart.

“I expect him to dial up a really good start. I do,” Joe Girardi said of Sabathia before the game. “I think the key for him is the sinker and when he has command of that I think that he’s very effective and that’s what we need tonight.”

James Loney rounds the bases after launching a home run in the seventh inning.

Howard Simmons/New York Daily News

James Loney rounds the bases after launching a home run in the seventh inning.

Of course, Sabathia had scolded himself by saying “I suck” and “I wish I had an excuse or something” after he was tagged for seven earned runs on nine hits in five innings –identical numbers to Friday’s start — in an 8-7 loss in Boston last Sunday in his first start out of the All-Star break.

The $ 191 million lefty, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow last winter, coughed up a seventh run in the fifth. He now has been reached for 22 runs (17 earned) in his last three appearances to fall to 9-9 on the season. His 4.65 ERA through 22 starts is better than only six American League pitchers with enough innings this season to qualify for the ERA title.

James Loney added a three-run homer to right against reliever Adam Warren in the seventh for the Rays.

Soriano, who played for the Yanks from 1999-2003 before his inclusion in the Alex Rodriguez trade, received a rousing ovation when introduced for initial AB from the cleanup spot. But Soriano popped to shallow center in his first at-bat, as Hellickson retired the first seven batters he faced before singles by Brent Lillibridge and Austin Romine accounted for the Yanks’ first run in the third.

Brett Gardner also singled and Robinson Cano walked to load the bases later in the inning, but Soriano skied a 3-2 pitch to Sean Rodriguez in right for the third out.

Soriano also grounded out third in the sixth and hit into a force play in the eighth, fitting right in with a Yankees offense that began the weekend 12th in the AL in runs, 13th in batting average and 14th in both home runs and OPS.


Daily News – Sports

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