ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) – Eduardo Perez tied the game in the bottom of the ninth inning with his second homer of the game and Jonny Gomes walked with the bases loaded with two outs in the 11th, giving the Tampa Bay Devil Rays a 4-3 victory over the New York Yankees on Tuesday night.

The Devil Rays rallied from a 3-0 deficit against Randy Johnson and Mariano Rivera to force extra innings, then loaded the bases in the 11th with Carl Crawford’s double off Alan Embree (1-5) and two walks, including Scott Proctor’s intentional pass to Aubrey Huff.

Proctor, whose balk sent Crawford to third base after the reliever replaced Embree, walked Gomes on four pitches to end the game.

Chad Orvella (2-2) threw two scoreless innings for the win.

Johnson, who skipped a scheduled start last Thursday because of a bad back, allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings. He struck out seven and walked two, leaving with a 3-2 lead that Rivera could not protect.

Perez’s fourth homer against the Yankees this season made it 3-all with one out in the ninth. He also homered for the third time this year off Johnson, hitting a two-run shot off the Yankees ace in the sixth.

The blown save was Rivera’s second in three outings following a stretch in which he earned 31 in a row. The homer was only the second he has allowed this season, with Boston’s Jason Varitek hitting the other on April 5.

Hideki Matsui singled to drive in two unearned runs off right-hander Doug Waechter in the first inning. John Flaherty added an RBI single in the second for a three-run lead that Johnson held until Perez homered on a 3-0 pitch with two outs in the sixth.

The two-run shot gave Perez four hits in six at-bats against Johnson this year. The son of Hall of Famer Tony Perez also homered twice off the Big Unit in Tampa Bay’s 6-2 victory at Yankee Stadium on April 19.

While Flaherty’s RBI single made it 3-0, the Yankees wasted an opportunity to drive Waechter from the game in the second when Robinson Cano grounded into a force play, Gary Sheffield struck out and Alex Rodriguez grounded out – all with the bases loaded – to end the inning.

The Yankees had the Devil Rays starter in trouble again when Tino Martinez doubled with one out in the third. Bernie Williams followed with a single, but Waechter escaped when Martinez was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Williams’ hit.

Johnson also settled after a shaky start, allowing two singles and a walk before bailing himself out of a bases loaded jam in the first by getting Huff to ground into an inning-ending double play.

The left-hander retired eight straight batters after Nick Green singled with one out in the third. Green singled again, leading off the sixth, and Perez homered three batters later to get the Devil Rays back in the game.

Waechter allowed three runs and nine hits in nine innings, the closest Tampa Bay has come all season to a complete game.

Notes: Devil Rays SS Julio Lugo was scratched from the lineup. He jammed his left hand sliding into second base Monday night, however the injury is not believed to be serious. Regular 3B Alex Gonzalez replaced Lugo at shortstop and committed two errors. … Williams’ second-inning double gave the Yankees center fielder a season-high five-game hitting streak.

AP-ES-08-16-05 2229EDT


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