EditorsNote: Updated 5th and 6th grafs with playoff position
Ji-Man Choi homered to lead off the 12th inning and the Tampa Bay Rays posted a 2-1 victory over the New York Yankees on Tuesday night in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The Rays earned their 18th win in 24 games when Choi lifted a 2-2 slider from Cory Gearrin (1-3) over the right field fence. It was Choi’s 18th homer and second career walk-off homer.
After rounding the bases, he was met with a mob of teammates at the plate and embraced several teammates while getting doused with popcorn, powder and gum before Guillermo Heredia doused him with Gatorade after he made his way towards the dugout.
Before Choi connected, the Yankees retired 16 straight Rays after Matt Duffy walked with two outs in the sixth to load the bases. The Rays were hitless after Tommy Pham singled with two outs in the fifth.
Tampa Bay (94-64) posted its 10th walk-off win and moved within a half-game of Oakland for the first American League wild-card spot with the A’s falling 3-2 to the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday. The Rays remain a half-game ahead of Cleveland for the second wild card after the Indians shut out the Chicago White Sox 11-0.
The Yankees (102-56) dropped to 1 1/2 games behind Houston for the best record in the majors and home-field advantage in the playoffs after the Astros shut out Seattle 3-0 on Tuesday.
The Rays used nine pitchers to get their latest win. Peter Fairbanks (2-3) entered the game in the 12th inning and stranded a runner on second by striking out Brett Gardner.
Cameron Maybin homered in the third off Yonny Chirinos for the Yankees while slumping Kevin Kiermaier connected in the fifth off Stephen Tarpley.
New York left-hander Jordan Montgomery opened the game and made his first start since May 1, 2018. He allowed three hits in two scoreless innings.
CC Sabathia made his first career regular-season relief appearance and got two strikeouts while throwing 13 pitches in the fourth.
Chirinos made his second appearance and first start since missing over a month with inflammation in his right middle finger. He allowed one run on one hit in three innings while throwing 30 pitches to 10 hitters.
Yankees third baseman Gio Urshela exited in the seventh after being hit in the left hand an inning earlier. He remained in the game to run the bases after being hit, and then played a half-inning on defense at third before being substituted.
—Field Level Media