On a night Giancarlo Stanton made his long-awaited return to the New York Yankees lineup, it was newest Yankee Edwin Encarnacion who stole the show, homering for the first time since joining the club in a 6-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays Tuesday night at rainy Yankee Stadium.
Acquired from Seattle on Saturday, Encarnacion just missed homering when he fouled off a pitch from Andrew Kittredge into the upper deck in left field with one out in the eighth inning. Two pitches later he hit his league-leading 22nd homer by lifting a 2-2 fastball into the right-center field seats for a 6-3 lead.
Cameron Maybin homered for a career-high fourth straight game as the Yankees won their fourth straight. They also extended their streak of hitting at least on homer in 21 straight games, the longest in the majors this season and four shy of the team record set in 1941.
The Yankees trailed 2-1 until they scored three runs in the fifth inning. DJ LeMahieu and Luke Voit produced RBI singles on consecutive pitches off Chaz Roe (0-3) to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead. Gary Sanchez capped the inning with an RBI single to the vacated right side of the infield on a defensive shift.
In a game that was delayed more than an hour before first pitch, the Yankees improved to 6-2 in the season series and moved 2 1/2 games in front of the Rays in the AL East.
New York picked up its latest win over the Rays on a night when Stanton returned from the injured list after missing the previous 68 games. Stanton played right field and finished 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
Sanchez also lifted a first-inning sacrifice fly for New York, whose first seven hits were singles.
Mike Zunino and Avisail Garcia hit RBI singles for Tampa Bay, which lost for the sixth time in eight games. Travis d'Arnaud hit an RBI double in the seventh for the Rays.
New York's J.A. Happ (7-3) won his sixth straight decision, allowing two runs on seven hits in five innings. Happ struck out three, walked none and threw 87 pitches.
Adam Ottavino fanned two in a scoreless sixth and Tommy Kahnle allowed d'Arnaud's hit but preserved the lead in the seventh. Zack Britton pitched a scoreless eighth and Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in the ninth for his 19th save in 21 chances.
Ryne Stanek allowed one run in 1 1/3 innings and faced the first six hitters as Tampa Bay's opener. Ryan Yarbrough took over and allowed one hit in three scoreless innings.
--Field Level Media