Gard­ner drives in game-win­ner for sec­ond time in three games

The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT) - - SPORTS - By Charles O’brien

NEW YORK » This lat­est hit by Brett Gard­ner pro­duced an­other walk-off win for the New York Yan­kees — with­out any mishaps, ei­ther.

Gard­ner hit an RBI sin­gle with the bases loaded in the ninth in­ning, send­ing the AL East lead­ers over the Tampa Bay Rays 5-4 for their sixth straight win.

“Makes me feel good,” Gard­ner said. “It’s an ex­cit­ing win for us — a very im­por­tant game against a tough op­po­nent.”

Gard­ner won the se­ries opener against the Rays on Thurs­day night with an 11th-in­ning home run. That sparked a wild cel­e­bra­tion at home plate, and Yan­kees rookie slug­ger Aaron Judge was ac­ci­den­tally hit by Gard­ner’s hel­met and lost half of his front left tooth.

A day af­ter Judge went to the den­tist for a fix, he steered clear this time, in­stead pour­ing Ga­torade on Gard­ner and nim­bly avoid­ing the happy group.

Chase Headley and Gary Sanchez hit long home runs for New York. The con­tend­ing Rays lost their sixth straight game at Yan­kee Sta­dium.

“That team is on fire right

now,” Tampa Bay man­ager Kevin Cash said. “Seems like a lot of things are go­ing their way. They’re in such a good spot right now as a club.”

With the game 4-all, Brad Boxberger (2-3) walked Headley to lead off the ninth, and pinch-run­ner Ja­coby Ells­bury promptly stole sec­ond.

Todd Fra­zier was hit by a pitch and Ron­ald Tor­reyes tried to put down a sac­ri­fice bunt, but in­stead reached first to load the bases when in­field­ers Adeiny Hechavar­ria and Tim Beck­ham mis­com­mu­ni­cated on a ground ball for the sec­ond time in the se­ries.

Cash brought in newly ac­quired left-han­der Dan Jen­nings to face the left­y­hit­ting Gard­ner. On an 0-1 pitch, Gard­ner grounded a ball past the Tampa Bay in­field to score the win­ning run.

“When we needed the huge hit, he got it for us,” New York man­ager Joe Gi­rardi said.

Aroldis Chap­man (41) worked around a pair of baserun­ners in the ninth to earn the vic­tory. The hard-throw­ing closer threw 11 of his 13 pitches over 100 mph to earn his sec­ond win of the se­ries. He’s al­lowed just two hits and struck out six over his last five in­nings.

Lu­cas Duda home­red for the sec­ond straight game since be­ing traded from the New York Mets to the Rays. He had an early sac­ri­fice, and tied it at 4 with a homer off David Robert­son in the eighth.

Peter Bour­jos and Steven Souza Jr. also hit home runs for Tampa Bay, which fell for the eighth time in their last 10 games.

Headley snapped a 124 at-bat home­r­less streak with a pinch-hit, two-run drive that gave the Yan­kees a 4-3 lead. He con­nected off Se­gio Romo, mak­ing Headley 6 for 12 life­time against the re­liever.

Rays starter Blake Snell al­lowed three runs over 5 1-3 in­nings. He is 0-6 this sea­son and hasn’t won in 14 starts since be­ing the Yan­kees last Sept. 22.

Trainer’s room

Yan­kees: SS Didi Gre­go­rius ap­peared to have been in­jured on Souza Jr.’s ninthin­ning stolen base. Gre­go­rius was at­tempt­ing a back­handed tag when Souza ar­rived at the same time, dis­lodg­ing the ball.


The Yan­kees’ Brett Gard­ner, cen­ter, is mobbed by team­mates af­ter driv­ing in Ja­coby Ells­bury for the win­ing run against the Rays on Satur­day in New York.


The Yan­kees’ Chase Headley, right, cel­e­brates with Matt Hol­l­i­day af­ter hit­ting a two-run home run in the sixth in­ning.

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