NEW YORK — For the second straight night, the Yankees defeated the Rays, 8-4, in extras at Tropicana Field. Tonight, however, it took 11 innings instead of 10.
Aaron Judge was the catalyst of the night hitting two home runs in the game. The first was a first inning solo shot that opened the scoring against Brendan McKay, while the latter was a go-ahead blast in the 11th that gave the Bombers the lead for good.
Another win against Tampa further cemented their lead atop the AL East, which now stands at 8.5 games over the Rays. Boston is a distant third, 11 games behind the divisions leaders.
After his disastrous start in London, Masahiro Tanaka aimed to bounce back with a solid performance tonight. While it started out well, the right-hander ended up giving up four runs on six hits in 6.1 innings.
Right away, though, the Bombers responded with a run of their own in the eighth. Pinch hitting for Mike Tauchman, who earlier drove in two runs, Aaron Hicks clobbered an Emilio Pagan pitch to right field to knot the game at four.
Then, with the game still tied in the 11th inning, Judge hit the go-ahead blast to put the Yankees in front. That wasn’t all, however. With two men on and two out, Brett Gardner gave New York some much needed insurance with a long three-run home run to straight away in center field.
Tampa made it interesting in the bottom of the 11th by loading the bases, but Aroldis Chapman nailed down his 24th save after inducing a Tommy Pham lineout to end the game.
A pair of left-handers face off tomorrow as CC Sabathia is on the mound against Blake Snell in the third game of this four-game set.