Choi HR in 12th lifts Rays 2-1 as Sabathia pitches in relief

USA Today Sports 1 month ago

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Ji-Man Choi hit a game-ending home run in the 12th inning that helped Tampa Bay remain on track for an AL wild card berth, and the Rays beat the New York Yankees 2-1 Tuesday on a night CC Sabathia pitched a perfect inning in his first regular-season relief appearance.

Choi homered off Cory Gearrin (1-3) after Pete Fairbanks (2-3) struck out Brett Gardner with a runner on second and two outs in the top half.

Tampa Bay remained a half-game ahead of Cleveland for the second AL wild card.

AL East champion New York (102-56) slipped as it tries to overtake Houston (102-54) for best record in the AL and homefield advantage throughout the AL playoffs.

Sabathia, a 39-year-old left-hander who is retiring at the end of the season, had made 560 regular season starts but is being moved to the bullpen along with J.A. Happ ahead of the postseason.

Sabathia struck out Travis d'Arnaud, induced a groundout from Choi and retired Matt Duffy on a called third strike. Sabathia's only prior big league relief appearance was in Game 5 of the AL Division Series, when he allowed one earned run over 1 1/3 innings against Detroit.

He received a standing ovation as he walked toward the dugout after the inning from a large group of Yankees' fans among the announced crowd of 16,699.

Cameron Maybin homered in the third off Yonny Chirinos, New York's 299th homer this season. It made the Yankees the first team in major league history to have 14 players with 10 or more home runs in the same season.

Kevin Keiermaier tied the score in the fifth with a home run against Stephen Tarpley, the fourth of 11 Yankees pitchers.

Yankees lefty Jordan Montgomery gave up three hits and struck out three over two scoreless innings in his second appearance and first start since returning from Tommy John surgery.

New York third baseman Gio Urshela was hit by a Diego Castillo pitch in the sixth and left an inning later with a bruised left hand. X-rays were negative.

OVERHEAD ASSIST

Yankees 2B Gleyber Torres had his eighth-inning pop-fly hit off an overhanging catwalk at Tropicana Field and land in front of second base where shortstop Willy Adames fielded the ball and threw to second baseman Mike Brosseau to force out DJ LeMahieu.

NUMBERS

Tuesday's turnout was an improvement from Monday night's finale of a four-game series with Boston that drew 8,779.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Yankees: Torres (lower leg weakness) returned after missing two games and went 0 for 5. ... C Gary Sánchez (strained left groin) and Edwin Encarnación (strained left oblique) are both expected back during the regular-season ending series this weekend at Texas.

UP NEXT

Happ (12-8) will follow an opener Wednesday night. RHP Charlie Morton (15-6) starts for the Rays.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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