Less than a week after he was benched, Jorge Posada earned a second straight start following his best game of the season.
The New York Yankees need all the help they can get against James Shields.
The Yankees will try to find a way to get to Shields - coming off his eighth complete game and fourth shutout - when they close their series against the visiting Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.
After a 5-1 loss in the series opener Friday, New York (72-46) bounced back with a 9-2 victory over Tampa Bay (64-55) on Saturday. Posada had a grand slam and drove in a season-high six runs in his first action since Aug. 6, shortly after which the team announced that he would not be serving as the regular designated hitter.
"I'm extremely happy for him. Jorge has a lot of pride," Derek Jeter said. "You're talking about someone who is used to playing every day for a long time. He's been working extremely hard and he had a huge day. That's not easy to do when you haven't played for a while."
Posada delivered a two-run single in the second inning to open the scoring and Curtis Granderson added his 33rd homer to tie Toronto's Jose Bautista for the major league lead.
Posada's big game probably gave Yankees manager Joe Girardi an even bigger reason to start him again Sunday. He's also hit well off Shields (11-9, 2.80 ERA), batting .306, including 3 for 9 with a double this year.
"As I've said, he's still going to play a role on this team,' Girardi said. ``We need him."
Shields is 1-2 against New York this year despite giving up only four earned runs in 22 2-3 innings. In two of his starts, including his win July 21, he opposed ace CC Sabathia.
The right-hander is coming off another spectacular start after giving up six hits while striking out eight in a 4-0 win over Kansas City on Tuesday.
"I didn't think I was going to get one complete game," Shields said. "I hadn't had one since 2008, so I was just hoping for one this year. Fortunately, for me, it's been a lot. I'm really, really happy with the way I've pitched this year and hopefully we can get a couple more here."
Shields, though, has lost his last three road starts, including easily his ugliest outing of the season at Oakland on July 27. He matched career highs with 10 runs and 12 hits allowed in four innings of a 13-4 defeat.
He'll try to help the Rays bounce back after their five-game winning streak was snapped Saturday. They had given up one or fewer runs in four of those games.
"I wanted to come out, do the same thing and get another game on these guys," said Jeremy Hellickson, who failed to make it out of the fifth. "So, I'm definitely disappointed."
Tampa Bay does catch a break Sunday as the Yankees scratched scheduled starter Freddy Garcia due to a cut on his finger and will send A.J. Burnett (8-9, 4.60) to the mound instead. Garcia had won his last three starts against the Rays.
Burnett gave up four runs and seven hits in six innings of a 6-4 loss to Los Angeles on Tuesday, but left without a decision. The right-hander is 0-3 with a 6.00 ERA in his last seven starts, giving up eight home runs over 42 innings.
Burnett is 0-1 with a 6.48 ERA in three starts against the Rays this season and is winless in his last six matchups.
Evan Longoria is batting .359 off Burnett.
The Associated Press News Service
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