Judge 51st HR, Yankees miss chance to move up, Rays win 9-6

Tampa Bay Rays' Mallex Smith smiles after catching a ball hit by New York Yankees' Aaron Judge for the final out of a baseball game Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017, in New York. The Rays won 9-6. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

NEW YORK (AP) – Aaron Judge hit his 51st home run to give the Yankees a quick lead, but New York missed a big chance to tighten the AL East race when Sonny Gray and the bullpen fell apart Thursday night in a 9-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Yankees stayed three games behind division-leading Boston, which fell to Houston 12-2. Each team has three games left and both are assured playoff spots – if they wind up even, the Yankees would host the Red Sox in a tiebreaker Monday.

Brett Gardner, Greg Bird and pinch-hitter Aaron Hicks also homered for New York, which had won three in a row. Wilson Ramos homered during a seven-run burst in the fifth inning for the Rays, who had lost three straight.

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