The Yankees' home opener is scheduled for Monday, April 2 against the Tampa Bay Rays, who will be in NY for a two-game series that includes an off day on Tuesday, April 3. Gray allowed two solo home runs in Tuesday night's loss, but otherwise was spectacular and everything the Yankees had hoped for.
Snell allowed two hits and two walks while striking out five for the Rays (72-74), who remained four games behind the Minnesota Twins in the race for the American League's second wild card.
Alex Colome earned his major league-leading 44th save with a flawless ninth inning in which he induced three grounders to Hechavarria at shortstop.
Steve Cishek, who has 121 career saves, relieved Snell after Brett Gardner's leadoff single in the sixth and allowed one hit in 1 2/3 innings while facing the Yankees' second through seventh-place hitters.
The Yankees turned a one-out walk to Judge into a first-inning run that gave them a 1-0 lead.
However, on that first pitch, a 94-mph fastball, Kiermaier tied it, driving it to right-center for his 12th homer. In Gray's starts, the Yankees have scored 24 runs (three runs per game). Lucas Duda followed with a double, but Gray stranded him.
Gray went eight strong innings, allowing just five hits and striking out nine. Brad Miller sliced a single to left, too hard for Ramos to score, instead giving the Rays runners at the corners with one out.
Gray got Hechavarria to swing through a 2-2 breaking ball for the second out and did the same to Kiermaier. Counting a strikeout of Hechavarria for the first out of the fifth, Gray retired nine straight batters until Hechavarria homered in the eighth. The sidearmer struck out Judge looking at a 91-mph fastball, induced a popout to first off the bat of Sanchez and struck out Holliday looking at a 91-mph fastball.
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