Carlos Pena and Willy Aybar hit two-run homers Friday night to back the pitching of David Price and lead the Tampa Bay Rays over the New York Yankees 9-3.
Price allowed three runs and seven hits in a career-best 7 2-3 innings - taking up where he left off last season, when he won his last three decisions, including an impressive performance against the eventual World Series champions.
Jason Bartlett's two-run double capped a five-run fourth inning against Javier Vazquez (0-1), making his first appearance for the Yankees since New York's crushing loss to Boston in Game 7 of the 2004 AL championship series. Carl Crawford, Dioner Navarro and Ben Zobrist also drove in runs for the Rays.
Alex Rodriguez had a RBI triple for the Yankees, who were limited to four hits until Derek Jeter and Nick Johnson doubled to open the eighth, producing New York's third run.
It appeared Price might get through the inning when he retired Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira. But the 24-year-old lefty gave up an infield single to Robinson Cano and walked Jorge Posada to load the bases.
Lance Cormier replaced Price and struck out Nick Swisher to get out of the jam.
Price, the top pick in the 2007 amateur draft, walked three and struck out seven to improve to 2-0 against the Yankees five appearances, including four starts. New York batted .113 in 18 2-3 innings against him last season.
Since losing four of his first seven decisions in 2009, Price arguably has been Tampa Bay's most consistent pitcher.
He led the Rays with seven victories after the All-Star break. He was 3-0 over his final 4 starts, including wins over Roy Halladay and CC Sabathia - the latter denying the Yankees ace his 20th victory.
Entering Friday night, the Yankees were batting just .123 overall vs. the young lefty, who made his major league debut in relief at Yankee Stadium in September 2008.
Vazquez was beginning his second stint with the Yankees after being acquired from Atlanta in a trade that sent Melky Cabrera to the Braves. Vazquez escaped a jam after Evan Longoria singled and Pena walked to start the second inning. The right-hander wasn't as fortunate after walking Ben Zobrist on four pitches starting the fourth.
Pena's homer into the right field stands erased New York's 2-0 lead. Navarro's RBI single put Tampa Bay ahead, and Bartlett's two-run double that skipped past diving left fielder Marcus Thames dumped the Yankees into a 5-2 hole.
Aybar's homer, Carl Crawford's run-scoring single and Ben Zobrist's RBI double gave Price an even bigger cushion in the sixth, when the Rays also showcased their speed with Bartlett, Crawford and B.J. Upton all stealing bases before later scoring.
Notes: A's Rod's triple was only his second since the start of the 2007 season. He scored on Navarro's throwing error, giving New York a 2-0 lead. ... Yankees fifth starter Phil Hughes will pitch in an extended spring training game Saturday, his final tuneup for his first scheduled start next Thursday against the Angels. ... Rays RHP Jeff Niemann, who left Thursday night's game against Baltimore in the second inning after being hit in the right shoulder by a line drive, remains day to day. ... Price is 9-3 at home, compared to 2-4 with a 5.45 ERA on the road in his career. ... Teixeira went 0-4. He's 0-for-16 through four games, matching the longest hitless stretch to begin a season in his career.