ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -AP- Rookie slugger Gary Sanchez hit his 17th homer in 42 games this season, a three-run shot in a four-run seventh inning that sent the New York Yankees past the Tampa Bay Rays 5-3 on Tuesday night.
The banged-up Yankees began play 4 1/2 games behind Baltimore and Toronto for the two AL wild cards. New York would also have to jump over Seattle, Houston and Detroit to earn a postseason berth.
Sanchez gave the Yankees a 5-2 lead with his drive off Brad Boxberger (4-3).
 
Sanchez hits 17th homer in 42 games, Yankees beat Rays 5-3
 
It was the young catcher's sixth home run in 11 games following a 10-game drought.
Mark Teixeira hit a solo shot in the fourth for New York, which was swept in a four-game series at Boston last weekend and had lost seven of eight overall.
It was Teixeira's 407th homer, which tied Duke Snider for 54th place on baseball's career list. The switch-hitting first baseman has hit 204 for the Yankees, moving him past Roger Maris and into a tie with Robinson Canofor 14th in franchise history.
Yankees center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury (bruised right knee), third baseman Chase Headley (back spasms) and second baseman Starlin Castro (strained right hamstring) were all out of the lineup for the second straight game.
Luis Severino (3-8) pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief to earn the win. Dellin Betances got three outs for his 12th save.
New York starter Michael Pineda gave up two runs and struck out 11 in 5 1/3 innings.
Brad Miller put the Rays up 2-0 with a two-run triple in the third.
Tampa Bay lefty Drew Smyly allowed one run over six innings.
 

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