Yankees' skid reaches 6 in loss to Tampa Bay

May 16, 2011 - 9:45 PM
Yankees Rays Baseball

New York Yankees starting pitcher A.J. Burnett, left, is removed from the game by manager Joe Girardi during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays Monday, May 16, 2011, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Sam Fuld and B.J. Upton both hit two-run homers to help the Tampa Bay Rays rally and hand the New York Yankees' their sixth consecutive loss with a 6-5 victory Monday night.

The New York slide includes a three-game sweep by Boston at Yankee Stadium over the weekend that miffed team co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner. It's the first time the Yankees have lost this many games in a row since a seven-game skid April 20-27, 2007.

"It's early, but the team needs to get it together," Steinbrenner said before the game. "We've got too much talent to be swept by anybody at Yankee Stadium, even if we're playing the '27 Yankees. It's not acceptable. We need to start doing what I know we can do."

Yankees starter A.J Burnett sailed through five innings and had a four-run advantage before imploding in the sixth. After Fuld homered and Matt Joyce drove in a run with a single, Upton ended Burnett's night with his two-run drive that put Tampa Bay up 6-5.

Burnett (4-3) allowed six runs and eight hits over 5 2-3 inning. The right-hander had two wild pitches during the sixth.

Juan Cruz (2-0) pitched a scoreless sixth for the win. Kyle Farnsworth got the final three out for his eighth save.

Curtis Granderson had given the Yankees a 5-1 lead on his three-run shot off Rays' ace David Price in the fifth. It was the first homer against the left-hander by a left-handed hitter since Philadelphia's Chase Utley went deep on June 23, 2009, a span of 310 at-bats.

Price gave up five runs and six hits in five innings. He entered 19-4 — including 3-1 in games with the Yankees — against the AL East.

Johnny Damon also homered for the Rays, who had not scored more than five runs in their first 22 home games this season. It was the longest stretch to open the season since the 1908 Brooklyn Superbas went 26 games.

The Yankees took a 2-0 lead on a two-run single by Eduardo Nunez in the second. Damon cut the deficit to 2-1 with his fourth-inning homer.

New York designated hitter Jorge Posada was not in the lineup against Price. The switch-hitting doesn't have a hit against a left-hander this season, and is 1 for 18 with 10 strikeouts against Price.

Alex Rodriguez was the DH, Posada's spot for most of the season.

Posada pulled himself out of the lineup over the weekend, saying he needed a day off, and a public spat ensued between the slumping slugger and club management. Team captain Derek Jeter later said he saw nothing wrong with what his pal did.

Posada has since apologized to the Yankees. The team held a conference call Monday with Jeter, team president Randy Levine, general manager Brian Cashman and managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner.

Notes: Granderson has 14 homers this season. ... Price threw 98 pitches. ... Yankees RHP Rafael Soriano had continued stiffness in his right elbow during a bullpen session and will have his status re-evaluated. ... Tampa Bay LHP J.P. Howell (left shoulder surgery) is expected to rejoin the team Friday after a minor league rehab assignment.