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Gardner’s late entry ignites Yankees win

TAMPA — Since the return of Aaron Judge from the Disabled List, Brett Gardner has seen his playing time greatly diminished, as Andrew McCutchen has taken over in left field and in the leadoff spot of the Yankee order.

Today, however, New York’s longest tenured player showed that he remained ready throughout as he drove in the game’s go-ahead run and made a tremendous catch, all after entering in the fifth inning for the injured Aaron Hicks. All in all, that led to a 4-1 win for the boys in grey, and clinched a matchup with the Oakland A’s in the AL Wild Card game.

In tonight’s game, Aaron Boone and the Bombers gave the Rays a taste, going with eight pitchers, with Jonathan Holder earning the spot as “starter.”

It did work as the Rays were limited to just two runs and struckout 13 times against New York pitching.

Notably, Aroldis Chapman pitched a clean seventh inning, striking out two while walking a batter.

Zach Britton then closed it out for his seventh save of the season, as Sonny Gray was also credited with the win, his eleventh of the year.

The offense did not go off, but they did more than enough to get the victory tonight.

Andrew McCutchen started the scoring with a solo shot in the third, while RBIs from Gardner and Giancarlo Stanton in the third gave the Yankees back the lead for good.

Aaron Judge, who also had two walks, hit an RBI-double in the seventh as the final insurance run for the Yankees.

Luis Severino faces Jake Faria in the second game of this four-game set tomorrow.

Current Yankees Record: 96-60