Hechavarria HR leads Rays over Yankees 2-1 at Mets' park

Steven Matz of the New York Mets walks

Hechavarria HR leads Rays over Yankees 2-1 at Mets' park

The Yankees (77-65) routed the host Texas Rangers 16-7 to extend their lead over the Minnesota Twins in the race for the first AL wild card to 3 1/2 games. He became Newsday's national baseball writer in 2012. "But I think a lot of people's focus is back home instead of NY". The only two that were said to be workable were Dodger Stadium in LA and Citi Field. Beneath the turbine roar of the Delta Shuttle, with a September breeze off Flushing Bay? The real issue here is that this is becoming a trend in Sonny Gray's starts. For a while, anyway. A leadoff home run by Kevin Kiermaier and an eighth-inning blast by Adeiny Hechavarria was all Tampa Bay needed for a victory. Gray had an idea, too.

The lack of run support is not new for Gray. "I just got beat there".

Young had two hits while batting second last night - his first-inning infield single made him 5-for-5 in his career against A's starter Sean Manaea - but Farrell acknowledged that it's getting harder to ignore the fact Young's been so bad against lefties. He'd only thrown 88 pitches.

Two solo home runs doomed Sonny Gray, on a night when the Yankees' lineup couldn't gain any traction against five Rays pitchers. So it's tough to point a finger at Gray with at least nine other candidates deserving an equal share of the blame in his defeats.

"He has pitched really well for us", Manager Joe Girardi said.

Girardi was telling that to reporters during his postgame news conference, but he was probably saying it as much to convince himself of the same thing.

Hechavarria finished a home run short of the cycle in a 5-1 loss Monday night.

Gray's effort gave the Yankees bullpen a full days rest. Those six batters have combined for 149 homers this season.

But from the moment the Rays took the field to a smattering of boos, the crowd of 21,024 was decidedly rooting for the New Yorkers.

Dan Jennings got the final out of the seventh before winning pitcher Tommy Hunter (3-5) threw a ideal eighth. Aside from the two home run pitches, Gray was brilliant, striking out nine in eight innings, including back-to-back strikeouts of Hechevarria and Kiermaier to strand runners at first and third in the fifth inning.

Not only is it nice to see the Yankees pick up the playoff slack left behind by the Mets, who were supposed to be the "it" team in 2017, it's nice that the one player who remembers their last World Series team is still pitching, and pitching well.

Close your eyes, and Flushing was the Bronx, the soundtrack transported for the Yankees' trip across town.

Gray was great again Tuesday night in a matchup with the Rays at Citi Field.

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