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Yankees Vs. Rays: Tampa Bay Looks To Continue To Cut Into AL East Lead

With a 4-3 victory over the Yankees in the series opener on Monday, the Rays won their eighth straight home game over the Yankees and cut a small sliver out of New York's large AL East lead. With 10-game and 5-game winning streaks in June, the Yankees built a large separation from themselves and the rest of the AL East competitors, all of whom have a .500 or better record.

The Rays, though, have a chance to pull the Yankees back some with another victory on Tuesday with James Shields taking the mound. Shields has struggled against the Yankees so far in 2012 in three starts against them, losing two and allowing a combined 14 earned runs through 16 innings. In his last start, Shields earned a loss against the Tigers after allowing 14 hits and four runs in just under eight innings.

Shields will look to improve his luck against the Yankees when he faces Ivan Nova. The last loss for the Yankees pitcher came on May 19 against the Reds and Nova has won five games since without a loss, including a win over the Rays on June 6.

The first pitch from Nova is scheduled for 7:10 p.m at Tropicana Field and will be televised on MLB Network, YES Network and Sun Sports.

Read more about the Rays at DRaysBay. For more in-depth coverage on the other side, visit Yankees blog Pinstripe Alley. Go to Baseball Nation for additional news and notes around the league.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.