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Wells Comes to Yankees' Rescue

Left-hander beats Tampa Bay, 10-2, after Weaver is battered by Devil Rays, 11-2, in first game of a doubleheader.

June 18, 2003|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — David Wells showed foundering teammate Jeff Weaver how it's done.

Wells pitched an economical seven-hitter, and Jason Giambi and Ruben Sierra each had three hits to help the New York Yankees rebound from a nine-run loss with a 10-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the second game of a day-night doubleheader Tuesday.

In the first game, the Devil Rays roughed up Weaver for six runs and 10 hits in an 11-2 victory, even while hitting into a team-record six double plays. Jeremi Gonzalez gave up one hit in six innings in front of 14,077 in the makeup of an April 11 rainout.

"A lot of young pitchers can learn from Boomer," Yankee Manager Joe Torre said. "You give [Wells] a lead and he's not going to beat himself."

In front of a more lively crowd of 47,604 on a crisp spring night, Wells was at his stingy best, walking none. He has walked only four batters in 100 2/3 innings this season.

"I take pride in this game," Wells said. "You got to know the hitters, study the reports, go out there and get ahead in the count."

It was the 51st complete game for Wells (9-2) and third this season.

The Yankees scored four unearned runs in the fifth inning to take a 6-1 lead with help from starter Dewon Brazelton's throwing error.

After Todd Zeile walked, John Flaherty bunted. Brazelton fielded it with plenty of time to get Zeile at second but his throw sailed into center field. Alfonso Soriano walked, then Derek Jeter grounded into a force for the first run. Giambi struck out and Hideki Matsui singled before Sierra hit a two-run double into left-center field, ending Brazelton's night.

Manager Lou Piniella spoke with his pitcher in the dugout after taking him out.

"We talked about a few things. A couple of walks, throw a bunt away, it opened up the floodgates," Piniella said.

In the first game, Weaver slumped his shoulders and shook his head as the Devil Rays knocked him out after five innings. The Yankees have lost each of Weaver's last five starts. He's back in the rotation because Jose Contreras is injured.

Sierra is 11 for 25 with two home runs and seven runs batted in since joining the Yankees on June 6.

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