CC Sabathia allowed three runs off eight hits through 6 2/3 innings of work, but lost his second consecutive start. The Yankees could get nothing going off Rays’ starter James Shields, who worked into the eighth inning and shutout the Yankees 3-0. After losing two of three to second-place Tampa Bay, the Yankees’ AL East lead has been cut to one game.

If you're going to strikeout, at least have killer sideburns ... AP Photo

Initial Reaction:

The Yankees could not touch Shields today, and it was all Tampa Bay from the start. Shields plain dominated, allowing just four hits and walking one through 7.1 innings. Eleven Yankees struck out – including five straight from the third inning into the fifth. The Yankees had a couple chances early on, moving a runner to third in the second, and again in the third, but nothing worked out. Shields was nasty today; he was giving the Yankees nothing to work with.

Here’s all the work the Yanks did off Shields today: Nick Swisher and Jorge Posada had consecutive singles for the Yankees in the second, Lance Berkman singled with one out in the sixth, and Derek Jeter chased Shields with a single in the eighth…that’s all. Swisher registered another hit in the ninth, and collected two of the Yankees five hits.

CC and the defense got a little unlucky. In the second inning a two-out, inside fastball went just over Lance Berkman’s head, bringing the Rays’ first run home. The Rays scored their other two runs in the thrid inning, where Reid Brignac started things by grounding one towards the middle. Robbie Cano made a nice play, but didn’t get enough on the throw. It bounced in the dirt and Berkman couldn’t make the scoop (I wonder if Teix would have gotten that..). After B.J. Upton’s double the Rays had CC in a jam with runners on second and third with no outs. The next batter, Carl Crawford, chopped a 2-2 fastball slowly towards short driving the run in – but because of Crawford’s speed he also reached first base safely. It also allowed Upton to advance to third. With still nobody out, Upton would come home to score in the next at-bat, when Evan Longoria grounded into a double play.

Sabathia got into some trouble in the fourth and fifth innings, but stranded runners at second and third each time. He didn’t give the Rays much after the third inning, but they already had more than they would need.

Positives From The Game:

Not a lot of positives when you get shutout.

Negatives From The Game:

You’ll see this here (at least from me) until it changes – Lance Berkman should not be batting second. Put Swisher (.298 BA, .371 OBP, .542 SLG, 20 HR, 63 RBI) in there.

The Yanks couldn’t solve Shields’ changeup. Or his cutter. Or his fastball …

Interesting Facts:

No Yankees reached base to lead off an inning.

The Rays had baserunners in every inning except the second and the seventh.

What’s Next?:

The Yankees head back to the Bronx for a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays

Probables: Brandon Morrow (7-6, 4.62 ERA) vs. AJ Burnett (9-8, 4.52 ERA)

Pray for Good AJ, and Let’s Go Yankees