ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Rookie Gary Sanchez hit two more homers and drove in five runs, Masahiro Tanaka won despite allowing four home runs in the same inning and the New York Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 11-5 on Wednesday night.
The Yankees moved within 2 1/2 games of Baltimore for the second AL wild-card spot. New York also would have to jump over Seattle, Houston and Detroit to earn a postseason berth.
Sanchez homered in his fourth straight game. He hit a three-run shot in a four-run second off Alex Cobb (1-1) and added his 19th homer in 43 games this season on a solo drive in the sixth against Justin Marks.
Including two games last season, Sanchez became the first player in major league history to hit 19 homers in his first 45 games. Wally Berger, with the Boston Braves in 1930, went deep 19 times in his first 51 games.
Sanchez has eight shots in his last 12 games after a 10-game home-run drought.
Tanaka (14-4) won his seventh straight decision. He was staked to a 7-0 lead entering the bottom of the third before Tampa Bay teed off.
Bobby Wilson led off with a home run. After Tanaka got two consecutive outs, Evan Longoria, Brad Miller and Corey Dickerson hit three consecutive shots. The four home runs in an inning set a Rays record.
Miller hit another solo shot in the eighth to give him 30 homers this season.
Cobb, making his fourth start since returning from Tommy John surgery, allowed seven runs and nine hits in 1 1/3 innings.
Yankees: 3B Chase Headley was out of the lineup for the third straight game but hopes to play Thursday.
Rays: OF Steven Souza Jr. had left hip surgery and is expected to be ready for spring training.
Tanaka had not given a homer in 17 of his previous 30 starts this season. . Tanaka threw two wild pitches with Jaff Decker batting in the second, including one that became lodged under the pad on the wall behind the plate.
Yankees RHP Luis Cessa (4-2) and Rays LHP Blake Snell (5-8) are Thursday night’s starters in a matchup of rookies.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.