NEW YORK – Rookie Tyler Austin hit a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the New York Yankees their season-high fifth straight victory, 5-4 over the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday night.
Brian McCann hit two homers for the Yankees, who moved a season-high nine games over .500 (74-65).
Austin homered off Erasmo Ramirez (7-11) on a 3-2 pitch for his third homer since being called up Aug. 13. Teammates met him at home plate by dousing him with water in a raucous celebration.
After blowing three leads during the first six innings, New York moved within two games of Baltimore for the second AL wild card and four games of AL East-leading Boston. Resurgent New York plays 20 of its remaining 23 games against division opponents, putting it in position to compete despite selling off key pieces at the Aug. 1 deadline.