- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 24, 2002

NEW YORK (AP) Aubrey Huff had the eighth and final hit off Orlando Hernandez, an RBI single that broke a fifth-inning tie and led the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to a 3-2 victory over the New York Yankees last night.

New York (98-58) missed an opportunity to move into a tie with Oakland (99-57) for the AL's best record.

Victor Zambrano (7-8) outdueled Hernandez (8-5), who retired 12 straight batters after Huff's hit.

Zambrano allowed six hits and a pair of unearned runs, getting into trouble only once in six innings. Wilson Alvarez worked two innings of relief and Esteban Yan pitched the ninth for his 19th save.

Huff, one of the hottest hitters in the majors since July 19 with 96 hits in 262 at-bats (.366), also had an RBI in Tampa Bay's two-run first inning. He finished 2-for-3 with a walk.

Alfonso Soriano went 2-for-2 for the Yankees but did not hit a home run. With 39 homers and an AL-leading 41 stolen bases, Soriano is seeking to become the fourth 40-40 player in major league history.

Bernie Williams went 2-for-3, giving him 199 hits and raising his average two points to .336. He is third in the AL batting race behind Kansas City's Mike Sweeney and Boston's Manny Ramirez.

Tampa Bay scored two runs in the first before Hernandez started to settle down. Huff drove in a run on a fielder's choice, beating out a potential double-play grounder, and Ben Grieve added a sharply hit RBI double to the gap in right-center.

Hernandez gave up eight hits, walked two, threw a wild pitch and hit a batter in his first four-plus innings. After that, he had three of his eight strikeouts and did not allow another baserunner.

New York tied it at 2-2 in the third on a two-run single by Jorge Posada, giving him 98 RBI this season. The Yankees have a chance to become only the second team to have five players with 100 RBI.

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