NEW YORK — After a big sigh of disappointment was felt throughout the stadium after Aaron Judge just missed giving the Yankees an eighth inning lead, the right fielder quickly energized the crowd by homering on the very next pitch.
The two-out shot sent the Yankee Stadium crown into a frenzy and sparked an eighth inning rally that provided the team more than enough cushion to secure an 8-3 victory over the Rays.
The Bombers are now six games ahead of the Rays for the AL East lead after evening this crucial four-game series at one game apiece.
After Judge’s home run in the eighth, the struggling Luke Voit and Gary Sanchez both got hits, while Edwin Encarnacion was intentionally walked to load the bases for Didi Gregorius.
The shortstop who has struggled in his own right, going 1 for his last 25, slugged an almost shoulder high fastball to deep in right center field for a grand slam.
The long ball sent the team and the crowd into a euphoric state and put the Yankees up by five crucial runs.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) July 17, 2019
CC Sabathia set the tone for the Bombers giving Aaron Boone six strong innings. Even if he did not have his best stuff, a scuffle he had with Avisail Garcia to end the sixth inning seemed to have energize a Yankee offense that has been struggling the past couple of days.
Not to be forgotten in this night was the job done by David Hale. Summoned by Aaron Boone in a bases loaded, one-out jam to face the red hot Travis d’Aarnaud, the young right-hander got the ground ball the Yankees needed to get out of the jam and leave the inning still trailing by just one.
Earlier in the game, Edwin Encarnacion homered again to open the scoring for the Bombers, while DJ LeMahieu hit a solo shot in the sixth to cut the Rays lead to one run at the time.
Domingo German and Yonny Chirinos are on the mound tomorrow for the third game of this four-game set.
Current Yankees Record: 60-33