Gardner's two-run homer lifts Yankees over Rays
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Brett Gardner's two-run homer in the top of the second inning lifted the New York Yankees to a 3-2 win against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on Sunday.
The bullpen of Chad Green, Tyler Clippard and Dellin Betances combined for four no-hit innings to preserve the slim lead for the Yankees (25-16). Betances got the final four outs for the save.
Gardner took the first offering from Rays starter Chris Archer and sent the pitch over the right-field wall to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead. Shortstop Didi Gregorius tied the game earlier in the inning with an RBI single that scored Jacoby Ellsbury.
The three-run inning ruined an otherwise strong day from Archer (3-3), who struck out 12 and gave up six hits in 6 1/3 innings. He threw 108 pitches (72 for strikes).
Tampa Bay (23-23) got Archer early run support in the bottom of the first inning when Corey Dickerson scored from second on a throwing error by Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez to give the Rays a 1-0 lead.
Yankees starter CC Sabathia was otherwise able to avoid trouble for most of his outing and made Gardner's homer stand up despite giving up a solo home run to Rays catcher Derek Norris in the fifth inning that made the score 3-2.
Sabathia (4-2) went five innings plus one batter in the sixth and gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits. He struck out six and threw 95 pitches (67 strikes).
Gregorius was 4-for-4 with an RBI while the Yankees' 3-4-5 hitters Matt Holliday, Starlin Castro and Aaron Judge combined to go 0-for-12 with 11 strikeouts.
NOTES: Rays manager Kevin Cash shuffled his lineup with a left-handed pitcher on the mound. He moved DH Corey Dickerson to the second spot and OF Kevin Kiermaier down to sixth while SS Tim Beckham was moved to lead off. ... Yankees RHP Bryan Mitchell was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barres prior to Sunday's game. He arrived at the park during the game but was did not pitch. RHP Giovanny Gallegos was sent down in a corresponding move. ... Rays SS Matt Duffy (heel surgery) said he will begin a running program Monday in hopes of playing rehab games before next weekend.