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Hughes, offense struggle in loss to Rays

08/31/2007 10:09 PM ET
By The Associated Press

Sonnanstine allowed only two hits in eight innings.(AP)
NEW YORK -- Carlos Pena homered twice and Andy Sonnanstine pitched eight innings of two-hit ball against the lethargic New York Yankees, leading the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to a 9-1 rout Friday night.

Carl Crawford capped a huge month with two run-scoring hits, and the surging Devil Rays roughed up an ineffective Phil Hughes to win for the seventh time in eight games. Pena also drew three walks and had his second multihomer game in six days.

Looking hung over from their three-game sweep of rival Boston, the Yankees botched an easy rundown play and mustered only Alex Rodriguez's RBI single in the fourth against Sonnanstine (4-9). After that, the rookie right-hander retired his final 14 batters.

Sonnanstine, who lost eight consecutive decisions earlier this year, allowed only an unearned run. He walked none and struck out five in the longest of his 17 major league starts.

Grant Balfour walked one in a hitless ninth to finish it.

Fresh off a three-game sweep at Baltimore, the Devil Rays have won four straight road games for the first time since June 2004. They still own the worst record in the major leagues at 55-80, but they finished 16-14 in August for the eighth winning month in team history and second under manager Joe Maddon.

Greg Norton homered and drove in two runs, and Delmon Young added two RBIs for Tampa Bay, which improved to 4-1 on its seven-game road trip. The Devil Rays clinched their second winning road trip of the season and first of seven or more games since going 4-3 at Toronto and Boston in July 2005.

Considered one of the top pitching prospects in baseball when he was called up from the minors this year, Hughes (2-3) hasn't lived up to the hype.

He gave up five runs and seven hits in 4 1-3 innings, falling to 0-2 in his last four starts.

One of the biggest surprises in baseball this season, Pena hit a leadoff homer in the fifth off Hughes and another solo shot in the sixth off Chris Britton for his 10th career multi-homer game.

Pena, who also connected twice in Sonnanstine's 7-4 victory over Dan Haren and Oakland on Sunday. The first baseman has 33 home runs this year, second in the AL to Rodriguez's 44, and 92 RBIs.

Crawford hit a run-scoring single in the first and an RBI double in the eighth, making him the 27th major league player in the past 50 years to get 50 hits in a month. He batted .388 in August.

Notes

The Devil Rays went 13-12 in June 2006 under Maddon. ... The Yankees were trying to move a season-high 17 games over .500. ... New York's makeup game Sept. 24 against Toronto was switched from a 7:05 p.m. start to 1:05 p.m. ... Yankees rookie RHP Joba Chamberlain was suspended for two games and fined $1,000, a day after he threw consecutive 98-99 mph pitches over the head of Boston's Kevin Youkilis. ... New York, which had won six straight at home, dropped to 32-12 in its past 44 games at Yankee Stadium.

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