CC Sabathia lost control – and another lead – in the fifth inning Friday. The night ended with the Yankees losing yet another key game with their fading -- tiring, hurting? -- ace on the mound.

Fill-in shortstop Eduardo Nunez also made a costly error in the ninth in a 6-4 loss to Tampa Bay at the Stadium, dropping the Yanks a half-game behind Baltimore in the A.L. East with 18 games to play, pending the Orioles' game later Friday night in Oakland.

Cy Young award candidate David Price, who missed his previous start due to shoulder soreness, outpitched Sabathia in allowing two runs over seven innings to improve to 18-5 with a 2.49 ERA. Sabathia (13-6, 3.63) was removed after Ben Zobrist's RBI single put the Yanks down 4-2 with two outs in the seventh, and B.J. Upton added a solo homer off Cody Eppley in the eighth.

Alex Rodriguez drew the Yanks (81-63) within one with a two-run blast off Joel Peralta in the eighth, but Nunez whiffed on Evan Longoria's grounder in the ninth for a run-scoring error.

Fernando Rodney recorded the final five outs for his 43rd save for the Rays. That included getting Curtis Granderson, who'd homered off Price earlier, on a first-pitch groundout with two runners on to end the eighth.

Before the game, Derek Jeter insisted he's "fine" and that the bone bruise in his left ankle suffered earlier this week in Boston is "not an issue." But Joe Girardi and GM Brian Cashman both painted a far different picture. They suggested the 13-time All-Star shortstop needs extended rest for the injury to heal, but Jeter typically has remained insistent on staying in the lineup.