St. Petersburg, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - CC Sabathia turned in seven sharp innings in his best start of the young season, and received plenty of support from his Yankees teammates as New York rolled to a 10-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in the opener of a four-game series.
Six of the Yankees' nine starters collected multiple hits and New York totaled 16 overall in its fifth consecutive win. Yangervis Solarte, Brian Roberts, Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury each knocked in two runs during the rout, with Solarte, Roberts and Alfonso Soriano each finishing 3-for-5.
Soriano and McCann also clubbed back-to-back homers off David Price (2-1), part of six runs and 10 hits that the Tampa Bay ace allowed over five shaky innings. Solarte added a two-run blast in the ninth.
After posting a subpar 6.63 ERA over his first three outings, Sabathia (2-2) held the Rays to two runs -- one earned -- and struck out six in a solid showing that was aided by a triple play in the second inning.
"Just tried to make a pitch to get a double play and Solarte made a great play and even (Scott) Sizemore made an even better play on the pick at first," Sabathia said of the triple play.
Sean Rodriguez had a solo homer in the loss, the Rays' fourth in a row, with Evan Longoria and Yunel Escobar each recording two hits.
Price struggled right from the outset, surrendering a bunt single to Ellsbury that opened the contest and then issuing a walk to Derek Jeter. He regrouped by retiring the next two hitters, but McCann came through with an opposite- field single to bring home the game's initial run.
The Yankees then came out swinging in the second, with Roberts following Sizemore's leadoff double with a triple to deep center for a 2-0 lead. Ellsbury tripled Roberts home one out later, with Jeter making it a four-run cushion with a single up the middle.
Tampa Bay put the first two men on in its portion of the second, but Rodriguez's sharp grounder went straight to third baseman Solarte, who promptly stepped on the bag before beginning an around-the-horn triple play that got Sabathia out of a jam.
"I hit it hard in the perfect spot for (Solarte) to step and throw," Rodriguez said of the triple play. "Yeah, that hurt a lot."
Sabathia nearly worked out of trouble again in the fourth by inducing a double-play grounder from Wil Myers with two on, but a passed ball by McCann enabled Logan Forsythe to cross the plate and pull the Rays within 4-1.
That was as close as Tampa Bay got, however. Soriano and McCann's back-to-back blasts off Price in the fifth restored the momentum for New York, and Roberts doubled against Heath Bell and came around on an Ellsbury sac fly an inning later to make it a 7-1 game.
Roberts added an RBI single in the seventh for his third hit of the evening, though the Rays countered in the bottom of the inning on Rodriguez's solo homer that ended a pair of scoreless innings from Sabathia.
Solarte's first major league homer, a shot off Grant Balfour with Soriano aboard in the ninth, capped the scoring.