Urshela's clutch hit helps Yanks gain on Rays

German picks up MLB-best 7th win; NY moves within half-game of 1st

May 11th, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG -- is decidedly not the guy you want to face with runners in scoring position this season. If that wasn't obvious Thursday against the Mariners, the Yankees' third baseman all but shouted it with a megaphone Friday night during New York's 4-3 victory over the Rays at Tropicana Field.

Much like during Thursday's win, the bases were loaded and the Yankees needed offense. And just as he did against Seattle, Urshela calmly answered the call, this time driving in two runs in the sixth inning to help New York regain the lead.

"[Confidence] is all I've seen, frankly," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of Urshela. "I felt like he was in a really good place from the start of Spring Training.

"I know he's talked about some things that he's worked on over the winter, to try and improve as an offensive player ... [and] to get results when you make some adjustments or some changes, it gives you confidence."

"We came here to fight every game," Urshela said. "That's what we're trying to do. Everybody here is always positive to go out there and win that game."

Urshela is hitting .375 (9-for-24) with 10 RBIs with runners in scoring position this season, not too shabby for a guy who began the year in Triple-A.

A bit more was at stake on Friday than there was against the Mariners, as the Yankees opened a stretch during which they'll face the American League East-leading Rays six times in two weeks. New York now trails Tampa Bay by just a half-game and has a solid chance to wrest control of the division.

The Yankees have steadily gained steam this season despite injuries to their roster -- both numerous and well-documented. New York's patchwork lineup may not be laden with household names, but it's certainly nothing to sniff at, either: The Yankees have won 15 of their past 20 games.

"This is a telling six weeks for New York," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "The way they've been able to withstand the major injuries to the middle of their lineup, a lot of their pitching staff has gone down at one point or another. They have guys and depth that continue to find ways. We're all playing the same schedule and they're right there in the thick of it, and they've been beat up."

Yankees starter didn't bring his best stuff to the hill Friday, but he still managed to bulldog through five innings to earn his Major League-leading seventh win. New York staked the righty to a 2-0 lead out of the gate, which he held until a pair of misguided pitches (fastball, changeup) led to two homers and three runs in the fifth inning.

Germán struck out five, walked two and scattered five hits for a career-best fourth consecutive winning start. He has a 3.04 ERA during that stretch.

"The guys went out there and were calm throughout all their at-bats, and eventually, Urshela came up big with that big hit," German said through an interpreter. "I always had faith in them, and it shows the kind of team we are.

"There's a saying that when you have a lot of faith, a lot of good things can happen. I kept the faith in the team, and they were able to do a great job."

The Yankees escaped a bases-loaded nobody-out situation in the seventh inning. Reliever struck out Tommy Pham on a 3-2 slider out of the zone for the first out, then infielder turned a 1-4-3 double play to retire the side.