NEW YORK — Brett Gardner homered early, then got two hits during a seven-run burst in the sixth inning fueled by five walks that sent the New York Yankees past the Tampa Bay Rays 13-5 on Sunday.
The Yankees took their second straight weekend series with Tampa Bay and moved a half-game in front atop the AL East. The Rays had been alone in first place for 47 straight days before New York scored three times in the ninth for a 4-3 win in the series opener Friday night.
Aaron Hicks homered for the first time since returning from a back injury and DJ LeMahieu also connected to help the Yankees win for the 10th time in 13 games.
Kevin Kiermaier and Willy Adames homered on consecutive pitches in the second to give the Rays a 2-1 lead. Brandon Lowe hit a three-run homer in the third, his third of the series, to make it 5-3.
Adam Ottavino (2-1) struck out Austin Meadows with the bases loaded to end the sixth and keep the score tied at 5. Chance Adams pitched three scoreless innings for his first career save.
Gardner, who hit a two-run homer off Charlie Morton in the second, started Yankees sixth with an infield hit off the glove of Diego Castillo (0-3).
Two walks and one out later, Luke Voit drew a bases-loaded walk off Castillo. Kendrys Morales later drew a bases-loaded walk off Ryne Stanek for a 7-5 lead and Gleyber Torres drove in a run with an infield single.
Pinch-hitter Thairo Estrada delivered a three-run double off Casey Sadler and Gardner capped the inning with an RBI double.
On the first anniversary of the Rays using an opener, the Yankees started Chad Green in that role. Green allowed two runs on three hits while throwing 29 pitches in 1 2/3 innings.
Rays: INF Matt Duffy (left hamstring tightness) got three hits as the DH in a rehab game for Class A Charlotte. . 3B Yandy Diaz left the game with a left hand contusion after hit being by Adams in the seventh. X-rays were negative and he is day-to-day . INF Daniel Robertson stayed in the game after getting hit in the helmet in the second.
Yankees: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (right shin contusion) was walking normally after being hit by Diaz’s 111.3 mph grounder Saturday. Manager Aaron Boone said Tanaka was still feeling some soreness and the Yankees will know in the next few days if he can make his next start. . LHP James Paxton (left knee inflammation) threw 20 pitches during his third bullpen session. He threw while wearing a brace on his leg and said he felt some minor discomfort. Paxton will throw his fourth bullpen session Tuesday and could be activated for his next turn if that goes well. Paxton has not pitched since May 3. … RHP Dellin Betances (right shoulder impingement) made 50 throws from 90 feet and said he felt good. Betances said he will play light catch Monday and then progress to 110 feet for a few days. Betances said he is not sure when he will get on a mound.
Rays: Tampa Bay is expected to use an opener for the 14th time this season on Tuesday at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers, who will start Clayton Kershaw (3-0, 3.40 ERA).
Yankees: LHP J.A. Happ (3-3, 4.44 ERA) starts Monday against the Orioles for the second straight time in the opener of a four-game series at Baltimore.