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Yankees, Rays Meet Again This Afternoon

(Sports Network) - The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays continue to battle for supremacy in the AL East and will close out a three-game series with the rubber match this afternoon at Tropicana Field.

The Yankees are 66-37, good for first place, while Tampa is only two games back in what many consider to be baseball's best division.

New York got even deeper on Saturday. One day after acquiring Austin Kearns in a trade with Cleveland, the Yankees made their deal for Houston first baseman Lance Berkman official while also getting Kerry Wood from Cleveland in another deadline move.

CC Sabathia will be on the mound for New York today in what will be his 23rd start of the season. The workhorse has compiled a 13-4 record and a 3.15 ERA with 124 strikeouts. He is, however, coming off a loss to Cleveland on Tuesday despite allowing just two earned runs in seven innings.

Sabathia is 1-0 in two appearances against Tampa this season and 8-3 lifetime versus the Rays with a 3.03 ERA.

James Shields will get the ball for Tampa Bay this afternoon, hoping to improve his mediocre 9-9 record and 4.79 ERA. Shields has allowed 154 hits in 135 1/3 innings of action and has been touched for a high total of 22 home runs. He was most recently in action on Tuesday when he managed to knock off Detroit in front of the home crowd.

Shields is 1-0 this season versus New York, but he is a lackluster 2-7 lifetime against the Yankees with a 5.45 ERA.

Just after Alex Rodriguez failed to club career homer No. 600 on Saturday, Robinson Cano belted a solo shot to right field with one out in the ninth inning, providing the New York Yankees with a 5-4 win over the Rays, snapping Tampa Bay's seven-game winning streak.

Rodriguez went 0-for-3 with a walk and scored once, but he hasn't gone deep since July 22 against Kansas City as he attempts to become the seventh member of the 600-homer club.

"The way I'm swinging now it's probably going to take a while," Rodriguez said of his home run quest. "Everybody get comfortable. I just have to be out there and help the team win somehow."

Mark Teixeira added a two-run homer and Nick Swisher a solo blast for the Yankees, who won for the eighth time in 11 games. Berkman went 0-for-4 in his debut.

Matt Garza, pitching for the first time since his no-hitter against Detroit on Monday, lasted seven innings, allowing five hits and four runs while fanning nine batters.

"This one falls on me," Garza said. "They spot me a two-run lead and I give it away. I had these guys beat and I gave it away."

Javier Vazquez yielded eight hits and four runs over 6 1/3 innings. David Robertson (2-3) pitched the eighth inning to get the win and Mariano Rivera recorded his 22nd save.

Rays first baseman Carlos Pena is day-to-day after leaving in the seventh inning with a sore right foot.

Carl Crawford stole the 400th base of his career, becoming only the seventh player to reach that mark before the age of 29.

Before Saturday, Tampa Bay's bullpen had allowed one run in the previous 19 innings.

These teams have split their 10 matchups this season.