Gary Sanchez went 2-for-4 with a three-run home run in New York's seven-run third inning as the Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 9-2 on Tuesday at Tropicana Field. >> Box score
1) Sanchez, who had been in a 1-for-27 slump over his previous eight games, drove in at least three runs in a game for the first time since June 15 as the Yankees' magic number to clinch home-field advantage in the wild-card game to 3.
2) The Yankees scored seven runs on four hits in the third inning off three Rays pitchers, which was more than enough run support for Luis Severino (19-8), who struck out seven batters and allowed two runs in five innings.
3) Miguel Andujar went 1-for-4 with a solo home run and a sac fly, while Adeiny Hechavarria also homered for New York.
4) Hechavarria hit a solo homer that made it 1-0, and Luke Voit later hit an RBI double that gave New York a 2-0 lead. Neil Walker drew a bases-loaded walk and Andujar hit a sac fly that brought up Sanchez, whose 17th home run of the season blew the game open.
5) Jake Faria (4-4), Andrew Kittredge and Jalen Beeks combined to allow eight runs and nine hits in six innings for the Rays.
Highlights from Tuesday's game
Show off that power, Gary. pic.twitter.com/Orr2rDzbSf- MLB (@MLB) September 26, 2018
Mamma Mia! pic.twitter.com/cuYyauMaTM- New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 26, 2018
The Yankees need Severino and Sanchez to be at their best. Tuesday was as close as they've been to such status in some time.
Minus a blip in the third inning, Severino was close to as good as he was at points in the first half. Severino generated 17 swings and misses tonight, which tied the fourth most in any game this season. That's not bad for a five-inning outing, which is all the Yankees would need from the right-hander in the postseason.
Coming into the game, Sanchez had just 10 hits in his last 66 at-bats since returning from the disabled list. The Yankees catcher has been just as unproductive behind the plate and neither can continue if the club is going to make a run this October. Each time Sanchez hits a home run, we ask if this is the one that snaps him out of a season-long funk. The Yankees hope so, because time is running out.
Masahiro Tanaka (12-5, 3.67 ERA) takes the hill as the Yankees play the third game of a four-game series against the Rays on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. at Tropicana Field.