The Tampa Bay Rays slammed five home runs off New York ace CC Sabathia to down the Yankees 5-1 at Yankee Stadium Friday.
The anticipated duel between Sabathia and David Price did not materialize as Casey Kotchman, Kelly Shoppach and former Yankee Johnny Damon hit solo home runs in the third inning to give the Rays an early 3-0 lead.
"We were able to get three there early to help David settle in a little bit," Shoppach said. "I'd like to give us a little bit of credit. We got some pitches to hit and we didn't miss them."
The Yankees briefly rallied with a run in the fourth inning, but Nick Swisher was thrown out at the plate by Sean Rodriguez's pinpoint relay to catcher Shoppach to end the threat.
"Great throw. I don't know what else to say," Swisher said. "If that ball is off by a foot, I'm safe. It might have been the turning point in the game, maybe. But either way, we just couldn't get anything going offensively."
Elliot Johnson and Evan Longoria added solo blasts to support Price who allowed only one run from six hits and struck out four over eight solid innings.
The Rays, third in the American League East, have won 11 of their past 15 games and five in a row as they attempt to keep touch with the second-placed Yankees who are 7.5 games ahead.
"This was big for us," Price said. "We'd won four games in a row coming into tonight, and this is a big six-game stretch for us over this next week. It was a big win for us, a good thing for me, and it felt good."
Sabathia, attempting to win his 17th game and tie Detroit's Justin Verlander for the most victories, gave up all five runs on 10 hits and struck out five in eight innings, without issuing a walk.