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Yankees 6, Rays 5: Brett Gardner hits a walk-off home run!

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Brett Gardner hits career-best 18th home run to win the game.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees kicked off this series against the Rays the right way with an exciting walk-off win. The offense got to Chris Archer first, but CC Sabathia started to fall apart in the fifth inning and the Rays took the lead. Trailing for a few innings, the Yankees chipped away at the Rays’ lead before Gary Sanchez tied the game in the ninth. Aroldis Chapman retired six straight batters in extras before Brett Gardner launched his 18th home run of the season to win the game.

Jacoby Ellsbury is having a rough season, but he was in today’s lineup because he has historically hit well against Archer. He earned his keep tonight, hitting an RBI double in the second inning to get the Yankees on the board. Todd Frazier followed with an RBI single. In the third inning, Gary Sanchez mashed his 15th home run of the season to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead.

Sabathia cruised through the first three innings, then surrendered a lead-off home run to Yankee-killer Evan Longoria. That was somehow his 8th career home run off of Sabathia. In the fifth inning, Sabathia battled Tim Beckham, throwing 11 pitches before finally notching the 2,800th strikeout of his career. It was all downhill from there. Sabathia gave up back-to-back doubles to Adeiny Hechavarria and Peter Bourjos. With one out, he walked Steven Souza Jr. and Sabathia’s night ended early. Chad Green took over and surrendered an RBI double to Brad Miller before getting out of the inning. He gave up a solo shot to Corey Dickerson in the following inning.

Then it was time for the Yankees to mount their comeback. Didi Gregorius and Chase Headley singled to start the eighth inning, and Matt Holliday drove in a run. Brett Gardner hit a leadoff triple in the ninth, and Sanchez singled through the hole in left to tie the game. Aroldis Chapman entered the game in the tenth and retired all three batters that he faced, then struck out the side in the eleventh. Leading off once again, Gardner homered to right field to win the game.

As if the Yankees haven’t had enough injuries, Aaron Judge apparently chipped a front tooth during the celebration at home plate after the game. According to Meredith Marakovits, he will be available to play tomorrow though.

This series will continue tomorrow with Masahiro Tanaka facing off against Austin Pruitt at 7:05 EST. Jake Odorizzi was supposed to start the game, but has been placed on the DL with a back injury.

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