ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Aaron Hicks injured his left hamstring running up the first-base line in the Yankees’ 4-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night, another concern for New York heading into next week’s AL wild-card game.
Hicks’ 11th-inning double on Saturday drove Didi Gregorius with the run that clinched a postseason berth, and on Sunday the Yankees learned Sunday that Gregorius had torn cartilage in his right wrist during his headfirst slide across the plate.
Hicks, who had fouled a pitch off his left ankle just before the double, left Monday’s game with left hamstring tightness. He appeared to get hurt in the third inning while running to first base on a grounder to shortstop, successfully beating a relay throw and avoiding a double play. He was replaced by Brett Gardner in the middle of the fourth.
New York’s win eliminated the Rays and ensured a postseason berth for Oakland, which is likely to be the wild-card opponent but also is still alive in the AL West race. The Yankees began the night 1½ games ahead of the Athletic for home-field advantage. At 96-60, New York is assured of its best record since going 97-65 in 2011.
Gardner had a go-ahead single off Ryan Yarbrough (15-6) in a two-run fifth inning, and the 35-year-old made a running, leaping catch at the center-field wall in the sixth on Brandon Lowe’s two-out drive with runners on first and third. Pitcher David Robertson threw both his arms skyward after seeing the grab.
Catcher Gary Sanchez also is of concern to the Yankees. He had two more passed balls to raise his major league-leading total to 17 in just 72 games behind the plate. He had 16 last year, tied for most in the majors.
New York used eight pitchers and gave its starters extra rest ahead of the postseason, and the Rays managed just two hits — both off Sonny Gray (11-9). Reliever Jonathan Holder started and threw two innings, as did Grey. Zach Britton worked ninth for his seventh save.
Andrew McCutchen homered in the third, but Tommy Pham doubled in the fourth, advanced on a passed ball and scored on Brandon Lowe’s double-play grounder.
Giancarlo Stanton had a run-scoring double in the fifth off Ryan Yarbrough (15-6) and is hitting .149 (11 for 74) with 10 RBIs in September. Aaron Judge hit a run-scoring double in the seventh, his second RBI since coming off the disabled list after recuperating from a broken wrist.
Gregorius will see team doctors Wednesday and remains hopeful of returning before the regular season ends and to start in the wild card game. “It feels way better,” Gregorius said.
Rays OF Carlos Gomez said he was fined by the commissioner’s office for an ejection by umpire Andy Fletcher after arguing a strike call in Thursday night’s game at Toronto. He plans to appeal it. “I don’t think it’s fair,” Gomez said.
Pham has reached base in a career-high 26 straight games, the longest active streak in the AL. He has hits in 25 of them.
Yankees: INF Thairo Estrada, who started the year on the DL after being shot in the right thigh during a robbery attempt in January and then had a season-ending back injury at Triple-A Scranton Wilkes/Barre, played in an Instructional League camp game. He is preparing to play in the Arizona Fall League.
Rays: CF Kevin Kiermaier (sore shoulder) was out of the lineup.
RHP Luis Severino (18-8) starts for the Yankees on Tuesday night against a Rays reliever.
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