Gary Sánchez and Rougned Odor struck out with two runners to stop a rally in the ninth inning and the advantage of the New York Yankees atop the AL wild-card lead got even tighter with a loss by 4-3 against the American League. Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night.
The Yankees advantage fell to one game over Boston and two games over Toronto after those contenders each won. Seattle was two games away from New York heading into the night.
New York needed a win plus a Boston or Seattle loss to make his fifth consecutive playoff appearance. Instead, the Yankees fell short against the American League East champs, the Rays, in the first game of a three-game series that ended the season.
The Yankees lost only for the second time in 10 games. Rookie Wander Franco gave the Rays a 4-1 lead by cutting a groundout for the middle for a two-run single in the ninth. His hit came just a few pitches after he missed a three-run homer by landing a ball a few feet from foul on left.
Franco’s hit also got a night after he went 0-4 to break a 43-game on-base streak, which tied Frank Robinson in 1956 for the longest streak in MLB history among players 20 and younger.
After Franco gave the Rays a three-run lead, the Yankees nearly pulled off a comeback. ANDRays reliever Andrew Kittredge allowed a double on one out by Giancarlo Stanton and a touch with an RBI single by Joey Gallo. Brett Gardner followed up with a home run single before Kittredge stoked Sanchez and Odor to end the game.