Gardner caps Yankees' comeback with walk-off homer in 11th inning as Yankees win 6-5

The New York Yankees take the first game in their four-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays with a walk-off home run in the 11th inning. The back-and-forth game saw the Yankees tie the game in the ninth inning with two outs on a defensive lapse by the Rays. New York had more than a few opportunities to win the game in the first nine innings but needed more to win the contest 6-5.
Photo Credit: AP
The Yankees started the scoring in the second inning when Jacoby Ellsbury brought home Chase Headley with an RBI double. Ellsbury got the start in center field, after falling out of favor, and rewarded manager Joe Girardi with an early lead. Todd Frazier followed up with an RBI single, bringing in Ellsbury.

The team continued the momentum one inning later when Gary Sanchez hit his 15th home run of the season. At this point it seemed as if Chris Archer wouldn't last long. However, he settled down and ended up pitching six innings, not allowing another run on the mound.

Tampa Bay started the comeback in the fourth inning when Evan Longoria hit his 16th home run of the season. To that point, CC Sabathia had cruised but began showing cracks in the armor. The big guy retired the side after the home run but remained in trouble just one inning later when two straight doubles brought the Rays to within one run. Chad Green relieved Sabathia but failed to maintain the lead. Brad Miller was the first batter Green would see and he doubled to bring home Peter Bourjos and Steven Sousa Jr.

Girardi showed loyalty to Green who surrendered yet another run one inning later to inflate the lead to 5-3. The padding came off the bat of Corey Dickerson, a home run to break up a personal cold streak at the plate. Archer would end up in a tough situation in the bottom of the inning, loading the bases but struck out both Todd Frazier and Tyler Wade to maintain the lead. Gary Sanchez would hop on the strikeout train one inning later, stranding Aaron Judge as the tying run on first base.

The Yankees chipped away from their 5-3 deficit in the eighth inning off of Brad Boxberger, when Matt Holliday grounded out to short stop to score Didi Gregorius, which made it 5-4 heading in tho the ninth.
Photo Credit: AP
The Yankees would tie the game in an odd play with two outs in the ninth inning. Gardner started the inning with a triple but New York was close to squandering another chance. Sanchez, with two outs, grounded a ball to the shortstop position but the Rays second baseman and shortstop got crossed up allowing the ball to exit the infield and tie the game.

Gardner put the game to bed in the first at-bat in the 11th inning, winning it with a solo home run, his 18th of the season. After arguably his best performance of the season, Aroldis Chapman got the win as Gardner continues to have a big year at the plate, topping his career high in home runs.

The Yankees are back in action tomorrow night against the Rays as Masahiro Tanaka faces off against Austin Pruitt.

Winning Pitcher: Aroldis Chapman (3-1, 3.14 ERA) 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB 4 K
Losing Pitcher: Andrew Kittredge (0-1, 5.40 ERA) 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR

Notables:
Brett Gardner: 2-5, 2 R, RBI, BB, HR (18)
Didi Gregorius: 2-5, R, K
Gary Sanchez: 2-5, R, 2 RBI, K, HR (15)
Todd Frazier: 2-5, RBI, K
Chase Headley 3-4, R, BB
Evan Longoria: 2-5, R, RBI, K, HR (16)

Article by: Anthony Merced

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