Struggling Gary Sanchez drove in four runs for the first time since early April, Luis Severino won his 19th game and the New York Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 9-2 on Tuesday night to keep up their push for home-field advantage in the AL wild-card game.
Sanchez had been 10 for 66 (.152) since returning Sept. 1 from a groin strain and 1 for his last 28, dropping his average to .180. He hit a three-run homer off Jalen Beeks in a seven-run third inning, his first long ball since Sept. 10, and added an RBI single in the fifth.
Severino (19-8) is competing for Masahiro Tanaka and J.A. Happ to start in the Oct. 3 wild-card game, most likely against Oakland. The Yankees began the night 1½ games ahead of the Athletics for home-field advantage.
Severino was 14-2 at the All-Star break but lost six of his next nine decisions before beating Boston and Tampa Bay in his last two outings. He gave up two runs and four hits in five-plus innings, appearing to lose concentration in the third inning.
Brandon Lowe hit a two-run double with no outs, but Ji-Man Choi was thrown out trying to score from first. Choi was hurt on the play and needed stitches for a cut left ear and also experienced concussion-like symptoms.
Severino is third in the major leagues wins behind Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell (21) and Cleveland’s Corey Kluber (20).
New York improved to 97-60, its most wins since going 97-65 in 2011. The Yankees are 37 games over .500 for the first time since finishing 103-59 in 2009, their last World Series title.
Adeiny Hechavarria homered against Jake Faria (4-4) leading off the third. Luke Voit had an RBI double, Beeks walked Neil Walker with the bases loaded, Miguel Andujar hit a sacrifice fly and Sanchez followed with his 17th homer. Sanchez’s only other four-RBI game this year was April 11 against Boston.
Andujar added his 26th homer in the ninth.
Faria allowed three runs and four hits in 2 1/3 innings. His night ended after catching a108.5 mph head-high liner by Aaron Judge. The right-hander bent over afterwards with both hands on his legs and exhaled.
Yankees: CF Aaron Hicks (left hamstring) should play within a few days, the Yankees said. … SS Didi Gregorius (torn cartilage in right wrist) is the be re-examined Wednesday. … INF Gleyber Torres (hip/groin) was scratched but could start Wednesday.
Rays: CF Kevin Kiermaier (sore shoulder) started after missing one game. … C Michael Perez (left hamstring) won’t play again this season. … Manager Kevin Cash said INF Daniel Robertson (left thumb surgery) is doing on-field work and is ready to have a normal off-season.
Rays LF Tommy Pham doubled in the first and extended his career-high on-base streak to 27 games, the longest active run in the AL. He has a hit in 26 of them. Pham got hit near the left elbow by a Severino pitch in the third but stayed in the game
INF Thairo Estrada hit a long homer in his first instructional league game against the Pirates. He started the year on the DL after being shot in the right thigh during a January robbery attempt in Venezuela and then had a regular season-ending back injury at Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes/Barre.
Yankees RHP Masahiro Tanaka (12-5) started Wednesday for the Yankees. He has allowed two or fewer runs in nine of his last 12 starts. The Rays will use relievers.
Source: The Associated Press