It's pretty simple. James Shields was very good, but C.C Sabathia was just a touch better. The only advantage Sabathia had was that he did not make an errant throw on a pick off that allowed a run to score. They each allowed four hits and one walk, with Sabathia striking out nine to Shields' five. It was a fantastic game to watch if you love watching two of the best pitchers in the game executing their craft to perfection. If you're a fan of offense...not so much.
The Rays had a few chances to score, with Elliott Johnson and Sean Rodriguez hitting doubles. However, Longoria and Upton failed to drive in Johnson, and Rodriguez was caught trying to steal third for some reason. Those would be the only scoring opportunities the Rays would get. The Yankees didn't get many chances off Shields, either. They had two on and no out in the third, but had Curtis Granderson lay down a sac bunt for some reason. They took the bat out of their best hitter's hands and failed to score and runs that inning. It wouldn't be until the seventh inning that a run would score, and that would be all the Yankees needed.
After a single by Robinson Cano to lead off the inning, Jorge Posada popped out to shallow center. B.J. Upton caught the ball and had a very good chance to throw out Cano at first since Cano had stranded himself between first and second. Upton's throw, however, ended up in the Yankee dugout, allowing Cano to advance to third. Russell Martin grounded out to third, holding Cano on the bag. Shields, king of the pick-offs, had Cano dead to rights at third after he looked toward home instead of paying attention to the pitcher while he was taking his lead. Shields turned and made an errant throw to Sean Rodriguez, allowing Cano to waltz home.
It's unfortunate, because Shields really was terrific in throwing his seventh complete game of the year. He dominated the Yankees with first pitch strikes, throwing them to all but two batters. His curveball was on point, throwing it 24 times for 19 strikes; he used it to get many of those first pitch strikes. That allowed him to mix his fastball and changeup well, keeping the Yankees off balance. Shields' season is another good indicator as to why pitcher won/loss records are pretty much worthless. This game dropped him to 8-7 on the season, and likely lowered his place in the worst run support standings. He had the sixth worst support coming into today's game.
The road trip ends a disappointing 2-4. After the All-Star break the Rays return home to face the best team in baseball in the Boston Red Sox. Here's hoping that series goes better than this past one.