As has become customary, the Yankees fell behind early, when Javier Vazquez allowed a bases-loaded single to Julio Lugo to give the Devil Rays a quick 2-0 lead in the first... The Yanks battled back, tying the game in the fourth on Ruben Sierra's towering two-run home run to right field... Sheffield's three-run homer in the fifth gave the Yanks a 5-2 lead and Hideki Matsui's solo shot an out later gave the Yanks the lead for good... Aubrey Huff made it 6-3 with a solo shot of his own in the sixth and then drove in a run off of Paul Quantrill in the seventh to make it 6-4. Tom Gordon allowed another of Quantrill's runners to score on Julio Lugo's groundout, but the Rays would get no closer than 6-5... Derek Jeter made it 7-5 with a home run in the ninth and Mariano Rivera - with the help of some sparkling defense from Tony Clark - nailed down his 17th save of the year and 300th of his career.
Vazquez (5-4) got the win, lasting six innings and allowing four runs on eight hits and a pair of walks. He fanned two batters. Doug Waechter (2-5) was hit with the loss after allowing six runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out none. He allowed three homers... Huff went 4/5 with two RBI and three runs scored. His average is up to .253 now, while he was at .200 just two weeks ago... Jeter continued his hot streak, with his third straight three-hit game. He is now hitting .221... Matsui continued his hot road trip, with two more hits raising his batting average to .317.
Game two of the three-game series is on Saturday at 6:15 PM Eastern time. Kevin Brown (5-1, 3.60), who already has three wins against Tampa this season, will take the mound for the Yankees. Mark Hendrickson (2-4, 5.15) will pitch for the Rays.