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7/10/11: Sabathia guides Yanks past Rays

Rays starter James Shields believes he has the stuff to beat CC Sabathia and the Yankees, if he can avoid beating himself.

On July 10, the two big-game pitchers squared off in the final game before the All-Star break, and Shields came up short. Sabathia pitched a shutout that day, and Shields made a throwing error on a pickoff attempt to third base to allow the only run in the Yankees' 1-0 win.

On Thursday, Shields will get a chance to redeem himself. Sabathia will get the opportunity to extend his seven-game winning streak.

"I'm looking forward to it," Shields said. "I'm sure CC is ready to rock over there, and we're going to go at it."

Get ready for an old-fashioned pitchers' duel.

"Let's hope I don't throw it down the line to lose the game this time, but last game was a good pitching matchup," Shields said. "If you're going to lose a game on one unearned run, there's really nothing else you can do about it."

Shields struggled his last time out, giving up six runs in six innings against the Red Sox on Saturday. Before his last start, he had not allowed more than four runs since Seattle scored eight off him on June 2.

The right-hander has been mentioned on the rumor mill as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches, but he chooses to focus on the task at hand -- beating the Yankees.

"I don't really care about the trade rumors," he said. "The guys that have been rumored to come to us over the last couple of years, we would have an All-Star team. Those things don't bother me too much. They're just rumors, that's why they're called rumors."

Sabathia has been solid all season. He is 11-1 since May 19 and boasts a 1.68 ERA in his last seven starts. He gave up one run in eight innings against the Blue Jays in his last start, extending his scoreless-innings streak to 24 before the Blue Jays plated their run.

"I think his slider has been very, very good, to go along with a very good fastball and changeup," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Yankees: Nova placed on seven-day DL
• Ivan Nova hurt his right ankle in the second inning of his most recent start for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and was placed on the seven-day disabled list on Wednesday.

Nova, 24, is expected to miss at least one Minor League start, but remains an option for a big league start in the split doubleheader against the Orioles on July 30.

• Brett Gardner, who stole 47 bases last season, picked up his 30th stolen base Wednesday to become the first Yankee with 30 or more stolen bases in consecutive seasons since Alfonso Soriano stole at least 30 bases in three straight seasons, from 2001-03.

Rays: Davis slated to return Friday
• Wade Davis, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on July 7 with a right forearm strain, will return to Tampa Bay's starting rotation Friday against the Royals.

Jeff Niemann will be pushed back one day to Saturday. Alex Cobb will pitch Sunday.

• Five of the club's last eight games have been decided by one run. The Rays are 1-4 in those one-run games.

"This is what the American League East is all about -- competing in these games and winning those one-run ballgames," Shields said.

• Dane De La Rosa made his debut Wednesday to become the 12th different rookie used by the Rays this season. The club record for rookies used in a season is 16, established in 2001.

Worth noting
• Shields (145 strikeouts) and David Price (137 strikeouts) have the most combined strikeouts (282) of any American League teammates, and the second most in the Major Leagues behind Philadelphia's Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay (284).

• The Yankees have had 17 players on the disabled list this season, the most in the Major Leagues this year. They currently have 11 players on the DL, matching their total from all of last season.

• The Yankees are 5-3 against the Rays this season. New York leads the all-time series, 146-82.

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