Miguel Andujar hit a three-run homer in the first inning and Giancarlo Stanton homered twice Thursday afternoon in New York's 12-1 victory at Tampa Bay, reducing the Yankees' magic number to one to clinch the top American League wild card spot.
The Yankees (98-61) need just one win in three remaining games at Boston, or one loss by the Oakland Athletics (96-63) in their three meetings with the Los Angeles Angels, to earn the right to host the A's in Wednesday's single-elimination playoff game.
The Yankees jumped on Rays starter Jaime Schultz (2-2) immediately, with Brett Gardner hitting the seventh pitch of the game for a double.
After Luke Voit and Stanton walked, Gardner scored the game's first run on a wild pitch. One out later, Andujar unloaded his 27th home run of the season to left field to make it 4-0.
Schultz was pulled at that point, charged with four runs and two hits in two-thirds of an inning. He walked two and struck out two.
The Yankees added three runs in the fourth, including an RBI double by Voit, before blowing the game open with a four-run sixth inning. Voit hit his 13th homer and Stanton his 36th to push the lead to 11-0.
Stanton went deep again in the ninth with No. 37, his fourth two-homer game of the season.
Yankees starter CC Sabathia (9-7) worked the first five innings, allowing only two baserunners. He struck out five and did not walk a batter, but he was ejected after he intentionally hit catcher Jesus Sucre in the top of the sixth inning.
Sabathia would have earned a $500,000 bonus had he pitched seven innings today. He has pitched 153 innings and needs to pitch 155 for the contract bonus to kick in.
Tampa Bay only managed two hits and scored its lone run on C.J. Cron's 29th home run of the season, a solo shot against Luis Cessa in the seventh inning.
Voit finished with three hits and Stanton and Gardner each scored three runs for the Yankees, who won three of four in the series to take the season series from the Rays, 10-9.
--Field Level Media