Walk On: Yanks Draw 12 Walks To Beat D-Rays

Mariano Rivera put on a clinic for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays pitchers when he closed out the game in the ninth inning. The D-Rays pitchers, who had struggled with control all game and walked 12 Yankee batters, watched as Rivera came out and threw eight straight strikes to nail down the Yankees' 8-5 victory.

Rob Bell, Al Levine and Jesus Colome combined to tie the franchise record for most walks allowed and basically handed the Yankees the game via the free pass.

The Yankees jumped out to an early lead in the first inning when Hideki Matsui crushed a double to deep left centerfield that scored Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada.

Tampa Bay came back with three runs in the third inning on the coattails of a familiar face and a defensive meltdown. With one out and one on, Julio Lugo chopped a ball deep into the hole between first and second. Alfonso Soriano chased it and knocked it down, but couldn't glove it. Terry Shumpert headed for third base, but Soriano's throw sailed way over Robin Ventura's head. Ventura recovered and threw home, but too late to get Shumpert who scored.

The next batter, Damian Rolls, who homered twice on Monday night against Roger Clemens, hit a two-run shot off of Andy Pettitte to put the D-Rays ahead 3-2.

But the Yankees quieted the D-Rays the very next inning, putting up five runs and batting around. Matsui led off the inning with a walk, then scored on Ventura's one-out double. Raul Mondesi walked and Juan Rivera singled to load the bases for Alfonso Soriano. Soriano hit a nubber to the pitcher, forcing Ventura at home but leaving the sacks juiced for Derek Jeter.

Jeter got a hold of a pitch and sent it sailing through the infield for a two-RBI single that chased starter Rob Bell from the game. Al Levine came on and couldn't find home plate. He walked Jason Giambi to reload the bases, then handed out walks to Posada and Matsui – again – to score two more runs before striking out Ruben Sierra.

The Yankees led the rest of the way, giving Andy Pettitte (8-6) his third consecutive victory. Pettitte threw 7 1/3 innings and allowed five runs on ten hits and a walk while striking out six batters. Rivera earned his 11th save with his ninth inning performance.

Bell (0-2) took the loss for the Devil Rays, allowing seven runs in just 3 2/3 innings. He walked four and allowed five hits while striking out just one. Jesus Colome pitched the final two innings and walked five batters in that span. D-Rays manager Lou Piniella made sure that Colome paid attention when Rivera took the mound.

The Yankees have ensured themselves of a split with Tampa Bay, but they go for the series victory on Thursday at 2:15 pm. Mike Mussina (9-4, 2.99) will take the hill for the Yankees and will face off against Jason Standridge (0-2, 4.32) of the D-Rays.

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