NEW YORK — Cameron Maybin homered again with his roster spot in doubt, Edwin Encarnacion went deep for his first hit with the Yankees and New York beat the Tampa Bay Rays 6-3 Tuesday night to extend its AL East lead to 2 1/2 games.
Playing through a mist in a contest that started over an hour late due to rain, New York won its fourth straight and has taken 9 of 12 against the second-place Rays dating to last season.
Gary Sanchez had two RBIs and J.A. Happ (7-3) pitched two-run ball over five innings. Giancarlo Stanton returned from the injured list to play right field and reached into the seats in foul territory for a key out in the second.
Maybin clobbered Oliver Drake‘s fastball into the second deck in left, extending New York’s lead to 5-3 in the seventh. It was Maybin’s career-best fourth straight game with a homer and extended New York’s homer streak to 21 games.
The 32-year-old Maybin is hitting .315 since being acquired by the banged-up Yankees in April, but he still may get cut when All-Star slugger Aaron Judge returns from an oblique injury in the coming days.
“I’m thankful I’m here and enjoying every moment of it,” Maybin said.
Ryne Stanek recorded four outs as the opener, allowing one run on Sanchez’s sacrifice fly. Ryan Yarbrough followed and retired nine of ten, his only blip a check-swing single by Luke Voit before being lifted with one out in the fifth.
The Yankees then broke through against Chaz Roe (0-3) behind RBI singles from DJ LeMahieu, Voit and Sanchez to take a 4-2 lead.
Acquired from Seattle on Saturday, Encarnacion’s first hit in pinstripes came in grand fashion, clubbing his AL-leading 22nd homer off Andrew Kittredge in the eighth.
Happ struck out three and is 6-0 in his last eight starts, dating to May 9.
Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in the ninth on twelve pitches for his 19th save in 21 chances.
Tampa Bay tied it with three consecutive one-out singles in the second but stranded two in scoring position when Stanton reached into the crowd to snag Joey Wendle’s foul fly. Avisail Garcia singled home a run an inning later.
The Rays lost back-to-back road games for just the second time this season.
Stanton was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts in his first big league action since Mar. 31. The former NL MVP was activated from the injured list before the game.
Tampa Bay called up Kittredge from Triple-A Durham, optioning fellow reliever Jake Faria to make room.
Rays: INF Matt Duffy (left hamstring tightness) was scheduled to participate in batting practice with the GCL Rays Tuesday and also bat in a simulated game. … RHP Tyler Glasnow (right forearm strain) threw his first bullpen session since being injured May 10. He is expected to throw another on Friday. … 3B/1B Yandy Diaz (right hamstring tightness) is a “little nicked up”, according to manager Kevin Cash. He is day-to-day.
Yankees: RHP Domingo German (left hip flexor strain) played catch on flat ground both Monday and Tuesday. … RHP Dellin Betances (right shoulder impingement) still has discomfort from a lat strain and is unsure when he’ll resume throwing. … RHP Luis Severino (rotator cuff inflammation in right shoulder) has begun throwing up to 105 feet and expects to throw off a mound next week. … Judge (left oblique strain) was 1 for 2 with a home run for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. … LHP Jordan Montgomery (Tommy John surgery) threw live batting practice to minor league hitters but stopped after just 15 pitches. “He walked off. He had a little discomfort, so hoping it’s nothing more than just not feeling great on a particular day,” manager Aaron Boone said.
A battle of Cy Young Award winning left-handers is set for Wednesday afternoon’s series finale, with Rays ace Blake Snell (4-5, 3.70 ERA) facing off against veteran CC Sabathia (3-4, 4.42 ERA).