July 6, 2019 / 3:23 AM / in 17 days

Judge hits 2 HRs, lifts Yanks over Rays in 11

Aaron Judge hit his second homer of the game leading off the 11th inning and Brett Gardner hit a three-run homer as the New York Yankees continued their success over the Tampa Bay Rays with an 8-4 win Friday night in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Jul 5, 2019; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone (17) looks on prior to the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Hicks tied the game at 4-4 two pitches into the eighth when he connected off Emilio Pagan while batting for Mike Tauchman. Judge gave the Yankees the lead again when he drove a first-pitch fastball from Ryne Stanek (0-2) 442 feet over the center field fence.

Five batters later, Gardner added a three-run homer by hitting Stanek’s 2-0 fastball over the center field fence. It was Gardner’s 13th homer, one more than his total from last season.

The Yankees beat Tampa Bay for the sixth straight time and improved to 9-2 in the season series to open an 8 1/2-game lead on the Rays in the AL East.

The Yankees won for the 16th time in 18 games and second straight time when blowing a late lead. New York also homered for the 34th time in 35 games and hit multiple homers for the 13th time in its last 17 games.

Nestor Cortes Jr. allowed Kevin Kiermaier’s two-run bases-loaded single with two outs in the seventh but pitched a scoreless eighth. David Hale (2-0) pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings and Aroldis Chapman retired Tommy Pham with the bases loaded to convert his 24th save in 27 chances after entering the game with two on.

Judge also homered in the first and recorded his ninth career multi-homer game. Tauchman hit a bases-loaded single in the fifth to give New York a 3-1 lead.

Nate Lowe and Mike Zunino homered off Masahiro Tanaka but Tampa Bay went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and lost for the 11th time in 18 games.

Tanaka allowed four runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out five, walked two and exited after putting two on in the seventh.

Tampa Bay rookie Brendan McKay allowed three runs on six hits in five innings in his second career start. He struck out three and walked none.

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