Travis d’Arnaud’s heroics power Rays past Yankees in walk-off win

ST. PETERSBURG. Fla. (AP) — With one big swing, Travis d’Arnaud made sure the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees didn’t go into extra innings for the third consecutive day.

D’Arnaud hit a two-out homer off Chad Green in the bottom of the ninth inning, lifting the Rays past the Yankees 4-3 on Saturday.

“I’m still on cloud nine right now,” d’Arnaud said. “We definitely needed that.”

Aaron Hicks had tied it at 3 in the top of the ninth for the Yankees, homering on a 2-2, two-out pitch from Colin Poche (2-1).

D’Arnaud’s winning homer on the first pitch against Green (2-3) into the right-field seats got the Rays back within 7 1/2 games of the AL East-leading Yankees, who had won the first two games of a four-game series in extra innings. Tampa Bay is 3-9 against New York this season.

“It happened fast,” Green said. “Hicks putting a great at-bat together there in the ninth, it’s just frustrating.”

It was just New York’s third loss in its last 19 games.

Nate Lowe hit a go-ahead two-run homer off CC Sabathia in the seventh that gave Tampa Bay a 3-2 lead. He hit his first big league homer Friday night off Masahiro Tanaka.

Lowe was hit by a Sabathia pitch with two on and two outs in the second.

“Yeah, that was nice,” Lowe said of his homer.

Sabathia went a season-high seven innings, giving up three runs and seven hits.

The Yankees went up 2-1 in the seventh on Hicks’ RBI single off Jose Alvarado, who left with two outs with a right oblique strain.

“The doctor did say it could be between two-to-six weeks depending on the MRI, which is going to be tomorrow,” Alvarado said through a translator.

Blake Snell, last year’s AL Cy Young Award winner, kept the game tied at 1 by getting a shallow fly to right from Aaron Judge and Hicks’ comebacker with the bases loaded in the fifth.

“We made it tough on Snell, although we couldn’t quite break through,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.

Judge, who fanned in his other two at-bats against Snell, is 1 for 12 with eight strikeouts overall against the left-hander.

Snell allowed one run and five hits over five innings. He went 2-3 with a 9.64 ERA in six starts last month.

Brett Gardner put the Yankees up 1-0 on a second-inning homer. He has homered in consecutive games for the third time this year and 13th overall.

D’Arnaud had an RBI single later in the second for the Rays.

MCKAY MOVEMENT

After starting Friday night and not being available to pitch again before the All-Star break, the Rays optioned two-way player Brendan McKay to Triple-A Durham and recalled reliever Ian Gibaut. McKay is expected to pitch in Game 1 of a doubleheader next Saturday at Baltimore.

YANKEES MOVES

New York optioned INF Mike Ford to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after Friday night’s game. … LHP Daniel Camarena was signed to a major League contract before the game Saturday and selected to the Yankees’ 25-man roster from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

HOT STRETCH

The Yankees had an 11-game winning streak against AL East opponents end. It was their longest within the division since a 13-game run from May 26-July 3, 1999.

LATE ADDITION

Yankees RHP Masahiro Tanaka was added to the AL All-Star team as an injury replacement for Toronto’s Marcus Stroman. “It will be a great thing if I can actually pitch in the game,” Tanaka said through a translator. “When you look at your baseball career, it would be something that I can be proud of.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Yankees: 1B Luke Voit (abdominal strain) remains on target to be back right after the All-Star break.

Rays: Reliever Diego Castillo (right shoulder inflammation) threw batting practice and should be back Friday. … INF Matt Duffy, on the IL all season with a strained left hamstring, will join Class A Charlotte Monday.

UP NEXT

Rays All-Star RHP Charlie Morton (9-2) and Yankees LHP James Paxton (5-3) are Sunday’s starters.