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Cameron Maybin leads Yankees past Rays, 6-3

The outfielder continues to make a case for keeping a roster spot as he homers in fourth consecutive game

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Cameron Maybin continued both his personal and team-wide home run streaks as he scored two runs en route to the Yankees downing the Rays, 6-3.

For the fourth game in a row, Maybin homered, this time to lead off the bottom of the seventh. This shot extended the Yankees’ lead to 5-3. As Giancarlo Stanton’s and Aaron Judge’s returns this week start to squeeze the bottom of the roster, he has made it difficult for the Yankees to designate him for assignment and risk losing him to another contender. Additionally, his homer stretched the Yankees’ home run streak to 21 games, four short of the franchise record of 25 set in 1941.

J.A. Happ entered the game looking to get back on track after last Thursday’s performance and build upon Masahiro Tanaka’s shutout to give the team some momentum. While he did not put together a dominant performance by any stretch of the imagination, he battled throughout, navigating through seven hits to only give up two runs in five innings of work, striking out only three but walking none. Happ has certainly not been a top of the rotation starter, but if he can keep opposing teams to only two runs while getting through five or six innings, he will help this team win a lot of ballgames.

The Yankees got out to an early lead in the game, with DJ LeMahieu scoring on a Gary Sanchez sacrifice fly. The Rays, however, would quickly tie it up in the top of the second and take the lead in the third. In the bottom of the fifth, though, the Yankees put together a one-out, three-run rally made up of singles by Gleyber Torres, Maybin, LeMahieu, Luke Voit, and Sanchez. Plus, in the bottom of the eighth, the parrot walked around the bases for the first time in pinstripes. Edwin Encarnacion laced a home run to left field to bring the score to 6-3, and there it would stay.

Following Happ, the Yankees brought out their full quartet of high-leverage relievers, with Adam Ottavino, Tommy Kahnle, Zack Britton, and Aroldis Chapman all making appearances, combining to give up only one run on two hits, striking out seven and walking two over four innings of work.

Everyone had their eyes on Stanton throughout the game. While he didn’t make for any highlights with his offense, he did contribute with the glove. In the second inning, he covered a lot of ground and outmaneuvered an uncooperative Yankees fan to end a potential rally.

Of course, his fancy glove work was not the only instance of slick defense by the Yankees, as Torres and Didi Gregorius turned an electric 4-6-3 double play to put the Rays away in the eighth.

Happ gets the win to improve to 7-3, while Chaz Roe falls to 0-2. Aroldis Chapman, striking out the side in the ninth, gets credited with his 19th save of the season, third most in the American League. The Yankees improve to 45-27 and are now 2.5 games in front of the second-place Rays.

Assuming the weather cooperates like it did last night, the Yankees and Rays will complete their three-game set this afternoon at 1:05. CC Sabathia gets the ball for the Yankees as they look to sweep their division rivals. He will once again try for his career 250th win. Blake Senll, meanwhile, will start for Tampa Bay.