The Rays were about to cut the Yanks’ lead in the AL East down to four games. They were four outs away from doing so.
But a 2-run HR by Aaron Judge and a grand slam by Didi Gregorius turned a possible 3-2 Yankees’ loss into an 8-3 Yankees’ win and enabled the Yankees (60-33) to stretch their lead over Tampa Bay to six games. The Yankees are 10 up on Boston.
The Rays took an early lead when CC Sabathia gave up a HR to Austin Meadows in the top of the second inning.
The Yanks came right back in the bottom of the second when Edwin Encarnacion hit a 435 ft. HR (28) to tie the game. Encarnacion’s 28th HR of the season (Seattle and NY) was #408 of his career, passing Duke Snider on the all-time list, and putting him one behind Mark Teixeira.
In the fourth, CC gave up a HR to Yandy Diaz to make it 3-1 Rays. He almost gave up back-to-back HR, but Brett Gardner robbed Avisail Garcia of a HR.
In the bottom of the fifth, Didi Gregorius and Gleyber Torres both made bad base-running decisions on the same play, and Tampa Bay got a DP to end that half-inning.
Diaz got an RBI double in the top of the sixth to put the Rays up 3-1.
D.J. LeMahieu homered in the bottom of the sixth (13) to cut the Rays’ lead to 3-2.
In the top of the seventh, Nestor Cortes, Jr. came in for CC but loaded the bases with one out, David Hale relieved Cortes, and got a DP to get out of the inning and keep the game within reach for the Yankees.
In the bottom of the eighth, Gleyber Torres walked. Two outs later, Aaron Judge hit a 2-run HR (10) to give the Yankees a 4-3 lead, but then they got insurance runs when Luke Voit singled, Gary Sanchez doubled, Encarnacion was intentionally walked, and Didi Gregorius hit his fifth HR of the season, this one a grand slam, to put the Yankees up 8-3.
Hale got into a jam in the top of the ninth, but Zack Britton finished off the Rays.
Yankees’ radio announcer John Sterling missed the game. He’s missed a couple lately as he (81 years old) is battling a health issue.
LeMahieu solo HR (13) .331
Judge 2 hits, 2 RBI, GW 2-run HR (10) .304
Encarnacion 2 hits, solo HR (28)
Gregorius 4 RBI; Grand Slam HR (5)
Sabathia 6 IP, 3 R, 5 H, 0 W, 6 K. Gave up 2 HR. 4.06
Cortes, Jr. 1/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 2 W, 1 K. 4.50
Hale (W, 3-0, 2.45) 2 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 3 K. 2.45
Britton 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K. 2.31