3/07/2008 11:19:00 PM

Yankees Fall To Astros 9-5

Posted by Mark McCray |

ASTROS 9, YANKEES 5
at Tampa, Fla.
Friday, March 7

Yankees at the plate: Alex Rodriguez's sore shoulder didn't hold the designated hitter back from drilling a double to left for the first hit of the game in the second inning. Jason Lane and Brett Gardner also doubled in the frame to tie the game at 2. Gardner added a leadoff triple in the fifth to finish perfect (2-for-2) at the plate. Wilson Betemit smacked his second homer of the year in the sixth inning to tie the game at 5.

Yankees on the mound: Steven White took the loss after he allowed three runs (two earned) over the sixth and seventh innings, walked two and fanned one. Mariano Rivera worked an inning for the first time this spring and did it with pizzazz. The closer retired the side on just eight pitches in the third inning, which included a first-pitch groundout sandwiched between two punch outs. In his second start, Pettitte sat the Astros down in order in the first frame, but he hit Geoff Blum with a pitch to start the second and served up a homer to Diaz two pitches later to dig himself a hole. Pettitte earned a no-decision, and he was hooked in favor of Edwar Ramirez after he reached his pitch count midway through the second.

Grapefruit League record: Yankees 3-3.

Up next: The Yankees remain at Legends Field, where they'll face the Rays in a Saturday matchup at 1:15 p.m. ET. Right-hander Mike Mussina (0-0, 18.00 ERA) is scheduled to toe the bump for New York, and Tampa Bay will counter with righty Matt Garza (0-0, 10.80).

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