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Savages in the box: Yankees storm by Rays, 6-2

Domingo German bounced back after giving up back-to-back home runs to start the game.

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees - Game One Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Gio Urshela went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI to power the New York Yankees past the Tampa Bay Rays, 6-2, in the first game of tonight’s traditional doubleheader.

With two games being played back-to-back, the Yankees needed a strong performance deep into the game from starter Domingo German, and the young right-hander delivered. Things did not start off well, as Austin Meadows and Yandy Diaz opened the game with back-to-back home runs, but German settled down quickly. He finished the game giving up only two runs on four hits in six innings, striking out five and walking two.

The Yankees struck back in the bottom of the second. Didi Gregorius led off the inning by reaching on a two-base error, as Rays third baseman Yandy Diaz dropped a high popup. After he advanced to third on a Luke Voit groundout, causing the Rays to bring the infield in, Urshela launched a 1-0 pitch into the right field seats. The ball landed just in front of the bleachers, tying the game at two.

In the fifth, the Yankees’ offense opened up. Following an Aaron Judge single, an Aaron Hicks ground-rule double, and an Edwin Encarnacion strikeout, Gary Sanchez ripped a line drive off of Yandy Diaz’s leg that careened into short left field. This allowed Judge to score and Hicks to move to third.

After a Gregorius popout made it two outs on the inning, Voit singled against the shift to drive in Hicks. Urshela then doubled down the left field line to bring in Sanchez. In all, eight Yankees would come to bat, and three runs would cross the plate, putting the Bombers ahead 5-2. The following inning, Hicks added a home run to bring the lead to 6-2.

After German, Tommy Kahnle and Zack Britton kept the Rays’ lineup quiet, striking out four hitters in two innings, with the only baserunners being a walk to Ji-Man Choi ad a fielder’s choice by Travis d’Arnaud. David Hale would give up a one-out double to Kevin Kiermaier in the ninth, but would face no further damage.

Brett Gardner had himself an interesting day as well. Early in the game, while manager Aaron Boone was arguing balls and strikes, he found himself...hitting the top of the dugout with his bat?

Later on, and actually on the field of play this time, Gardner found himself catching a fly ball in a spot he never found himself before at the Major League level: shortstop.

I’m still not completely sure how the left fielder happened to be the only one who knew where the ball was, but at least he made the play.

German gets the win for the Yankees, giving him his league-leading 12th win and bringing his record to 12-3; Yonny Chirinos gets tagged with the loss, falling to 8-5. With this win, the Yankees improve to 61-33 and are now seven games in front of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Assuming the weather continues to cooperate, the Yankees and Rays will complete this four-game set...right now! Come on over to the game thread and join us as our six-hour baseball extravaganza continues!