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Rays' offense gets best of Yanks again

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Tampa Bay's offseason effort to bolster an inconsistent offense is already producing results.

Luke Scott and Carlos Pena were the Rays' two biggest acquisitions this winter, and the duo has driven in nine runs to help the Rays open the season with a pair of victories over the New York Yankees.

"That's what we talked about. We needed or wanted to see some significant power adjustment," manager Joe Maddon said Saturday night after Scott had three hits and drove in three runs in his debut as Tampa Bay's designated hitter, pacing an 8-6 win before a sellout crowd of 34,078 at Tropicana Field.

"Power is also driving in runs," Maddon added. "It's not just hitting home runs. These guys have done a nice job."

The Yankees trimmed a six-run deficit to two in the ninth, even getting Alex Rodriguez to plate as the potential tying run. But Fernando Rodney came out of the bullpen to retire A-Rod on a first-pitch grounder to a perfectly positioned second baseman playing on the left of second base.

Left-hander David Price (1-0) allowed two runs and five hits over 6 1/3 innings to win for the first time since Aug. 28. The two-time All-Star walked four and struck out five.

The Rays will go for a three-game sweep of the defending AL East champions today (1:30 p.m., YES), sending 2011 AL Rookie of The Year Jeremy Hellickson to the mound against right-hander Phil Hughes.

The Yankees aren't concerned by their slow start.

"We're two games in right now. It hasn't really gone the way we would have liked for it to. But, hey, that's the name of the game," New York's Nick Swisher said. "We just got to keep battling, keep fighting, stick together as a team because we're going to do a lot of special things."

Matt Joyce hit a solo homer off Hiroki Kuroda (0-1) for the Rays, and added a two-run single against Clay Rapada in the seventh after umpires used instant replay to overturn what initially was ruled a two-run homer for Evan Longoria.

Pena had a RBI single for Tampa Bay, building on his three-hit, five-RBI performance from Friday's 7-6 season-opening victory.

The slugger, signed this winter along with Scott to add punch to the lineup, hit a grand slam off CC Sabathia and a game-winning RBI single in the ninth off Mariano Rivera in the opener.

"We added some big guys," Joyce said of Scott and Pena. "It really makes everybody around them better."

Longoria's fly to the wall in right field was changed to a ground-rule double. Replays showed a fan wearing a Yankees jersey reached over the railing and caught the ball, which would not have carried into the stands, with a glove. The reversal left runners on second and third, and Joyce followed with his two-run single to make it 8-2.

New York scored on RBI singles by Andruw Jones and Eduardo Nunez in the fourth. Raul Ibanez's ninth-inning sacrifice fly and Swisher's three-run homer off Joel Peralta trimmed a six-run Yankees deficit to 8-6. Robinson Cano drew a walk from Jake McGee, but Rodriguez grounded out.

Kuroda, signed as a free agent after spending the past four seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, allowed six runs and eight hits over 5 2-3 innings in his Yankees debut.

The Yankees aren't the only AL East powerhouse struggling.

Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera hit two homers apiece and Alex Avila added another off Josh Beckett in the Detroit Tigers' 10-0 rout of the Boston Red Sox on Saturday.

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