ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - B.J. Upton was not surprised by the Tampa Bay Rays' comeback.
Sam Fuld and Upton both hit two-run homers in the sixth to help the Rays rally and hand the Yankees' their sixth consecutive loss with a 6-5 victory Monday night.
``We tried to string together a couple of hits to keep us in the game and it snowballed into five,' Upton said. ``We expect ourselves to stay in games at all times, so I don't think it makes any difference it was the Yankees.'
Curtis Granderson had given the Yankees a 5-1 lead on his three-run shot off Rays' ace David Price in the fifth. It was the first homer against the left-hander by a left-handed hitter since Philadelphia's Chase Utley went deep on June 23, 2009, a span of 310 at_bats.
``It was only four runs and at that point we still had four innings left, so anything can happen,' Upton said.
Rays ace David Price gave up five runs and six hits in five innings. He entered 19-4 - including 3-1 in games with the Yankees - against the AL East.
``It's a tough lineup,' Price said. ``They hit good fastballs. I didn't think I had my best stuff tonight, but the team picked me up and that's what it's about.'
Johnny Damon also homered for the Rays, who had not scored more than five runs in their first 22 home games this season. It was the longest stretch to open the season since the 1908 Brooklyn Superbas went 26 games.
``Getting the Superbas off our back is kind of nice,' Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
The New York slide includes a three-game sweep by Boston at Yankee Stadium over the weekend that miffed Steinbrenner. It's the first time the Yankees have lost this many games in a row since a seven-game skid April 20-27, 2007.
``It's early, but the team needs to get it together,' Steinbrenner said before the game. ``We've got too much talent to be swept by anybody at Yankee Stadium, even if we're playing the '27 Yankees. It's not acceptable. We need to start doing what I know we can do.'
Yankees starter A.J Burnett sailed through five innings and had a four-run advantage before imploding in the sixth. After Fuld homered and Matt Joyce drove in a run with a single, Upton ended Burnett's night with his two-run drive that put Tampa Bay up 6-5.
``I heard the Yankees don't like to play this team and Boston as well,' new Rays reliever Joel Peralta said. ``So I've heard about it and I see it's true.'
Burnett (4-3) allowed six runs and eight hits over 5 2-3 inning. The right-hander had two wild pitches during the sixth.
Juan Cruz (2-0) pitched a scoreless sixth for the win. Kyle Farnsworth got the final three out for his eighth save.
The Yankees took a 2-0 lead on a two-run single by Eduardo Nunez in the second. Damon cut the deficit to 2-1 with his fourth-inning homer.
New York designated hitter Jorge Posada was not in the lineup against Price. The switch-hitting doesn't have a hit against a left-hander this season, and is 1 for 18 with 10 strikeouts against Price.
Alex Rodriguez was the DH, Posada's spot for most of the season. A-Rod had his average drop to .242 after going hitless in four at_bats, including three strikeouts.
Posada pulled himself out of the lineup over the weekend, saying he needed a day off, and a public spat ensued between the slumping slugger and club management. Team captain Derek Jeter later said he saw nothing wrong with what his pal did.
Posada has since apologized to the Yankees. The team held a conference call Monday with Jeter, team president Randy Levine, general manager Brian Cashman and managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner.
Notes: Price threw 98 pitches. ... Yankees RHP, and former Tampa Bay closer, Rafael Soriano had continued stiffness in his right elbow during a bullpen session and is scheduled to be examined Tuesday in New York.
The Associated Press News Service
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