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Good plate discipline, timely hitting leads Yankees to 13-5 win over the Rays

Aaron Hicks homered, Gary Sanchez tripled, and the Rays bullpen gave up eight runs on five walks and eight hits in a blowout win for the Yankees.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees took on the Tampa Bay Rays this afternoon in the rubber match of their three-game weekend series.

Chad Green was used as the opener, and he let five of the nine batters he faced reach base. Two of those batters, Kevin Kiermaier and Willy Adames, took Green for back-to-back homers in the second inning to give the Rays the lead. This was after the Yankees got to Morton in the first on a Kendrys Morales single driving in DJ LeMahieu.

Nestor Cortes Jr. replaced Green after only 29 pitches, the latter’s day ending after he lost control of a pitch and hit second baseman Daniel Robertson in the head. Cortes struck out the hot Austin Meadows for the third out. Gio Urshela led off the next inning against Morton and drew a leadoff walk. Brett Gardner came up to bat next and took the first pitch into the right-field seats to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead in the second inning. Gardner is now batting .545 against Morton in his career and has hit two homers in ten at-bats against the righty.

The Rays fired right back in the top of the third as Cortes walked the leadoff batter, then eventually gave up a double, followed by a home run to right fielder Brandon Lowe as the Rays took the lead 5-3.

In the bottom of the fourth, Aaron Hicks launched a huge two-run home run into the bleachers for his first homer of the season tying the game at five.

Cortes Jr. settled down after the third, and kept the Rays at five runs until the sixth inning when he was replaced by Adam Ottavino. He came into a jam with two outs and two runners on, and only made the situation worse walking his first batter to load the bases for Austin Meadows. Fortunately, he came up huge and struck out Meadows to keep the game tied.

The Bombers blew the game open the sixth inning. Diego Castillo came in for the Rays and loaded the bases on one hit and two walks. Castillo then walked Luke Voit to bring in the tie-breaking run. Ryne Stanek replaced Castillo who also walked in a run extending the Yankees lead to two making the score 7-5.

It didn’t stop there. Gleyber Torres reached on an infield single to put the Yankees up by three. Thairo Estrada, pinch-hitting for Gio Urshela, then ripped a double down the left field line which cleared the bases.

After the Estrada double, Gardner put the cherry on top with an RBI double to extend the Yankees lead to seven and put them up 12-5 after a 37-minute inning.

After getting called up on May 13 in support of a depleted pitching staff, Chance Adams came on in relief in the seventh inning with a comfortable seven-run lead. Adams pitched the last three innings of the game, giving up only one hit and striking out four as the Yankees took back first place. This was the second series they’ve won against the Rays this year.

The Yankees go on a seven-game road trip starting with a four-game series against the Orioles on Monday. J.A. Happ will get the start as the Yankees look to hold first place.