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Yankees take AL East lead in 4-3 win over the Rays

Sabathia started the game strong, and Urshela ended it in the ninth with a walk-off.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

It was a pitchers’ duel right until it started raining.

CC Sabathia went six innings for the first time this season, allowing just one run on six hits and two walks. Once again he fell victim to the solo home run. This time it was Willy Adames in the top of the fourth; the home run had a exit velocity of 94 miles per hour with an expected .200 batting average according to Statcast. The short porch made it a Yankee Stadium home run.

The combination of Ryne Stanek and Yonny Chirinos worked well for Tampa Bay. Stanek opened the game for the Rays, having had one pitch he wishes he could take back. It was during the bottom of the second as a Kendrys Morales’ homer traveled 417 feet with an exit velocity of 108.4 mph. Chirinos followed, pitching 4.2 innings allowing four hits with no runs. It was 1-1 to end the seventh.

The rain started to pick up as Chad Green came in for Tommy Kahnle. Green, who returned to the Yankees bullpen last weekend against the Rays with a perfect inning, unfortunately could not repeat that result. With Daniel Robertson on second and two outs, Brandon Lowe hit a double over the head of Aaron Hicks to give Tampa the lead. Soon after Kevin Kiermaier singled, and with a throwing error by Gleyber Torres, Lowe scored making it 3-1.

The ninth inning started with a 1-2-3 inning by Jonathan Holder, striking out two hitters in the process. Maybe it was this performance that gave the Yankees the spark they needed.

Jose Alvarado came in to to close things out, but Luke Voit quickly ruined his entrance. Voit made things a lot closer with a home run to right center field. Sanchez followed with a hard single that Tommy Pham was able to cut off preventing an extra-base hit. Thairo Estrada then came in as a pinch-runner.

Gleyber Torres battled in a ten pitch at-bat, resulting in a double off the left field wall as Estrada moved to third. With the game-winning run in scoring position, the Rays decided to intentionally walk Clint Frazier loading up the bases. While Cameron Maybin came in as the pinch-hitter for Brett Gardner, he didn’t have to swing to tie the game as Alvarado threw a wild pitch and Estrada made it home easily.

Everything was knotted at 3-3 and the tension was rising. The infield was in for Maybin. He hit a grounder to third basemen Robertson, and with a strong throw home Torres was called out. Gio Urshela, who continuously finds himself in big situations for the Yankees this season, once again managed find a way to come up big. The outfield was playing in guarding against a shallow fly ball. and Urshela didn’t care. He hit it right over the center fielder Kiermaier’s head to complete the comeback. The Yankees won 4-3.

The Yankees are in first place for the first time since Opening Day, and will now look to take the series and extend their division lead.

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