ST. PETERSBURG (WDAE) -- With the New York Yankees on the verge of passing them in the standings, the Tampa Bay Rays snapped a two-game losing skid as Yandy Diaz homered twice and Avisail Garcia also went deep, helping power a 7-2 win over New York Saturday at Tropicana Field.
Tampa Bay jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second, wen Garcia backspun a CC Sabathia pitch over the center field fence for his sixth home run of the season, and doubled the lead an inning later as Diaz hit the first of his home runs, a solo shot also off Sabathia.
But Yonny Chirinos, who came on to start the thid after Ryne Stanek gave the Rays two innings to begin the contest, could not hold the lead, giving up an RBI double to Clint Frazier in the fifth that cut the lead back to 2-1, and a solo home run to Luke Voit in the sixth that tied the game at 2-2.
But Tampa Bay would not allow the New York bullpen to keep the game tied, as Garcia singled off Jonathan Holder to lead off the home half of the sixth. However, he remained at first base until there were two outs in the inning, when he stole second base, went to third on Gary Sanchez's throwing error, and after Guillermo Heredia drew a walk, scored on Willy Adames' infield single to break the tie. Ji-Man Choi then singled in Heredia from second base on a ground ball into the shift that the first baseman was able to beat out.
Diaz iced the game away in the eighth with his second homer of the night, a three-run blast off Nestor Cortes Jr. that set the score at 7-2.
Diego Castillo worked a perfect seventh and eighth innings, and Jose Alvarado finished out the game with a 1-2-3 ninth,
The win extends Tampa Bay's lead in the American League East back to 1 1/2 games over the Yankees.
Tampa Bay Rays (24-14) vs. New York Yankees (23-16), 1:10 pm first pitch, with coverage on WDAE eginning at 11:00 with The Inside Pitch.
Rays starter: LHP Blake Snell (3-3, 3.62 ERA)
Yankees starter: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (2-3, 3.77 ERA)