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Old 09-29-2017, 07:16 AM
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Default Aaron Judge Hits Homer Number 51
NEW YORK (AP) — Sonny Gray said he didn’t notice what was posted on the out-of-town scoreboard at Yankee Stadium, but his manager did.

A big chance to put more pressure on Boston in the AL East race. There, and then gone.

Aaron Judge hit his 51st home run for a quick lead that was squandered when Gray and the New York bullpen fell apart Thursday night in a 9-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Yankees stayed three games behind the division-leading Red Sox, routed by Houston 12-2. Each team has three games left and both are assured playoff spots — if they wind up even, the Yankees would host Boston in a tiebreaker Monday.

“It’s frustrating, because we had a chance to pick up a game,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

“It just wasn’t meant to be tonight,” he said.

Brett Gardner, Greg Bird and pinch-hitter Aaron Hicks also homered for New York, which had won three in a row. Wilson Ramos homered during a seven-run burst in the fifth inning for the Rays, who had lost three straight.

Gardner and Judge hit back-to-back homers to begin the bottom of the first inning, and Bird connected in the fourth for a 4-1 edge.

But with the scoreboard already showing Boston trailing by a lot, New York allowed its most runs in an inning this year.

Gray (10-12) gave up a pair of one-out singles, and a wild pitch and Gary Sanchez’s major league-leading 16th passed ball each permitted runs to score. Ramos added a two-out, two-run homer off Gray, and Peter Bourjos hit a two-run triple and Cesar Puello had an RBI single against Jonathan Holder.

A crowd that earlier chanted “MVP! MVP!” for Judge wound up booing as the Yankees eventually ended an inning that also included a throwing error by Sanchez, a hit batter and a walk.

Gray walked a season-worst five in 4 2/3 innings.

“I was kind of all over the place all night,” Gray said.

Said Rays manager Kevin Cash: “That was a pretty impressive offensive inning by our part, pieced together a bunch of hits.”

Corey Dickerson and pinch-hitter Trevor Plouffe also homered for Tampa Bay. Chih-Wei Hu (1-1) pitched one inning for his first big league win.

Judge has gotten an extra-base hit in eight straight games. He has 11 total hits during that span — seven homers and four doubles. Overall, the rookie has a career-best 11-game hitting streak.

Judge has 32 homers at home this season, tying Babe Ruth’s team record.

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