YANKEES 6, RAYS 3 at Tampa, Fla. Thursday, March 18
Rays at the plate: Carlos Pena snapped a 0-for-21 spring skid with a second-inning home run, blasting a full-count offering deep over the right-field wall. B.J. Upton legged out a fourth-inning triple to right-center, then scored on a passed ball. Pat Burrell followed with a single and also later scored on a passed ball.
Yankees at the plate: Derek Jeter drilled a two-run double to deep center field in the bottom of the second inning, chasing home Marcus Thames and Ramiro Pena. Colin Curtis gave the Yankees back the lead in the sixth with a three-run homer into the bleachers in right field, his second of the spring.
Rays on the mound: Left-hander Carlos Hernandez picked up his first start of the spring and third overall appearance, racking up six strikeouts and walking three in a three-inning outing. He allowed three hits and two runs. Heath Rollins relieved with two innings of scoreless, one-hit ball, walking one. Jeff Bennett served up three runs on a homer in the sixth.
Yankees on the mound: Turning in his third start of the spring, right-hander Javier Vazquez served up a second-inning home run to Pena, allowing two hits, two walks and striking out three in three innings of work, tossing 60 pitches (38 strikes). Romulo Sanchez relieved and was charged with two runs on three hits in two-thirds of an inning, walking one. Chan Ho Park was stellar in his Yankee debut, throwing eight pitches (seven strikes) with a strikeout in a perfect fifth inning, and Dave Robertson followed suit with a scoreless sixth, striking out two.
Worth noting: Jeter had one RBI in 23 previous spring at-bats. ... Jorge Posada and Vazquez had a bit of miscommunication in the third inning on a Ben Zobrist tapper in front of the plate, and Posada allowed two passed balls as well on a rough night for the veteran backstop. ... This was the second of three meetings this spring between the American League East rivals.
Grapefruit League records: Rays (11-3), Yankees (6-8)
Up next: Dan Wheeler will start for the Rays on Friday night when they play the Yankees in a 7:05 ET game at Charlotte Sports Park. He will be followed by Jeff Niemann, Joe Bateman, Richard De Los Santos and Mike Ekstrom.
Friday will be a marathon for Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who will pilot a split-squad in a 1:05 p.m. start against the Astros at George M. Steinbrenner Field, then ride the bus to Port Charlotte, Fla., for a 7:05 p.m. start against the Rays. Mariano Rivera is scheduled to make his second spring appearance in the home game; Alfredo Aceves will start opposite Wheeler, with the entire starting infield behind him. On the road, fifth-starter hopefuls Sergio Mitre and Chad Gaudin will continue their fight to impress, leaning on the likely Opening Day outfield alignment.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.