But Monday -- though with some anxious moments -- it came through in a huge way in a 10-8 win over the Yankees. Five relievers combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings.
"We needed to come through and win one of these games," said Rocco Baldelli. "We'd lost a couple within the last week -- those are tough when you're out there winning throughout the whole ballgame and you end up coming out on the short end, it's tough. To come out tonight and for everyone to contribute like they did it was a great game."
Shawn Camp allowed a leadoff single in the seventh, but got a double play to get out of trouble.
After Juan Salas walked two to start the eighth, Brian Stokes -- in an act of redemption after blowing a ninth-inning lead Sunday -- gave up a single to load the bases, then escaped with no damage, striking out Melky Cabrera with a fastball that was clocked at 99 mph.
And unofficial closer Al Reyes gave up a two-run homer to red-hot Alex Rodriguez but recovered to strike out Jason Giambi and get Hideki Matsui to pop up for the final out.
"This," Reyes said, "should give everyone confidence."
DEVIL RAYS 10, YANKEES 8: Last night, the Devil Rays earned an impressive victory over the struggling New York Yankees. Nonetheless, it was Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez who stole the show. Rodriguez belted two homeruns to break the record for most homeruns in the month of April with 14. Rodriguez's 13th homerun of the year came off of Casey Fossum in the second inning. Rodriguez, who finished the game 4-5 to raise his batting average to .400, cut the Devil Rays lead in half with a 2-run homerun, his 14th, off of Al Reyes in the ninth.
Rodriguez's performance was not enough though as the Devil Rays were able to hold on to an early lead. Fossum (2-1), who did allow 10 hits and 6 earned runs, earned the victory for Tampa Bay with the help of his offense. Rocco Baldelli launched a long three-run homerun to left field that scored Elijah Dukes and Josh Paul to give the Devil Rays a 4-1 lead. After Baldelli's homerun, the Devil Rays were able to hold their lead for the rest of the game. Baldelli finished the game 3-5 with 3 RBIS, but it was B.J. Upton who was the offensive player of the game for Tampa Bay. Upton's bases-loaded double in the bottom of the seventh cleared the bases and broke open the game for the Devil Rays. Upton, who finished the night 2-4 with 4 RBIS, also hit a solo homerun in the fourth inning.
Juan Salas did not retire a batter when he came into the game in the eighth inning. With a four run lead in that situation, the former infielder walked the first two hitters he faced before being removed from the game by Rays skipper Joe Maddon. Brian Stokes, who came in to the game in relief of Salas, did a nice job of coming back from a miserable performance against Cleveland on Sunday. The rookie right hander threw a scoreless eighth inning. Reyes came in to the game with a four run lead and quickly allowed his first two earned runs of the season on Rodriguez's homerun. The veteran was able to quickly bounce back and close the door for the Devil Rays.
Kei Igawa struggled on the mound for the Yankees in his first start against Akinori Iwamura in the United States. Igawa (1-1) only lasted 4.1 innings, but he allowed 7 earned runs in his first loss of the season. The Yankees pitching has been mediocre at best so far this season and Rodriguez is carrying the team.
--LHP Casey Fossum is the first Rays pitcher to have more than one win. He plunked Robinson Cano, giving him a major league high 43 hit batters since the start of the 2004 season.
--3B Akinori Iwamura was being observed for a potential right oblique strain. He looked uncomfortable during the late innings. The Rays expect to know more on Tuesday.
--CF Rocco Baldelli hit his third home run of the season -- all at Tropicana Field. He has three hits off lefthanders this season and two are home runs.
--2B B.J. Upton ranks among the major league leaders with a .526 average (10-for-19) with runners in scoring position and has hits in 15 of his 16 starts. He has 15 RBIs in 18 games this season after getting 10 in 50 games last season.
--George Hendrick returned to the first-base coaching box after missing the first 18 games while recovering from left knee surgery. Dave Martinez had been filling in.
BY THE NUMBERS: 12 -- Strikeouts by RHP James Shields on Sunday, tying a team record.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's only 442 (feet) because something stopped it. On the moon that'd be circling right now." -- Rays manager Joe Maddon, on Travis Hafner's massive home run on Saturday.
INF/DH Greg Norton (surgery on torn medial meniscus in right knee) is expected to be out until May. He opened the season on the disabled list.
RHP Shinji Mori (torn labrum) is rehabbing without surgery and might be ready by midseason.
RHP Doug Waechter (shoulder surgery) is rehabbing and is expected to be game-ready by June.
Akinori Iwamura was placed on the 15 day disabled list prior to tonight's game. Jorge Cantu was recalled from AAA Durham to fill Iwamura's spot on the roster. Reports have indicated that Iwamura is expected to be out between 4-6 weeks with an injured oblique muscle.