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Yanks 8 games up after big 6th in Game 2

@BryanHoch
July 19, 2019

NEW YORK -- The Yankees applauded from the dugout as manager Aaron Boone touted his team’s offensive presence during a spirited on-field argument in Thursday’s first game, calling them “[bleeping] savages” for their continued ability to make pitchers’ lives difficult. Boone believed that message needed to be relayed to a

NEW YORK -- The Yankees applauded from the dugout as manager Aaron Boone touted his team’s offensive presence during a spirited on-field argument in Thursday’s first game, calling them “[bleeping] savages” for their continued ability to make pitchers’ lives difficult.

Boone believed that message needed to be relayed to a rookie umpire, but the rest of the American League is well aware of the Yankees' patient, lethal approach. They lived up to that billing in the nightcap, celebrating their new moniker by posting a 5-1 victory that completed a doubleheader sweep of the Rays at Yankee Stadium.

Box score

"He's been calling us savages all year, and we've had that mentality since Spring Training," said Luke Voit, who slugged a homer in the fifth inning. "It's pretty cool. Not a lot of coaches would back it up and use that type of word, but I think we appreciate it. We are a bunch of savages, and we've got to keep going."

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New York’s advantage in the AL East has swelled to eight games, just a half-game shy of its largest lead of the year, as it improved to 13-0-1 in its last 14 home series. The Yankees have just two games remaining against the Rays, whom they will not see again until the second-to-last series of the season.

"These are big wins," Boone said. "With the team on your heels, they count as a kind of double in a way. We’re trying to win the division, so to go win three out of four and sweep a doubleheader, that’s big."

After the first game, in which Domingo Germán became the Majors’ second 12-game winner, the pitchers maintained control to move the Yankees (62-33) a season-high 29 games over .500.

"These were hard-fought games," Aaron Judge said. "They are going out 110 percent, we’re going out there 110 percent. They got a lead on us early twice, and we just fought back. It just shows how mentally strong this team is; no matter what the score is, if they jump out early on us, it’s a long ballgame, and we have a chance to come back."

New York improved to 8-0 in games for which righty Chad Green has been used as an opener, though he needed a high-wire act to keep the Rays off the board in the first inning. A single, a walk and a hit batsman loaded the bases with none out, but he escaped by retiring the next three men -- two via strikeout.

"The guys behind me pitched really well, and the offense has shown up on every bullpen day," Green said. "It seems every time I go out there, the guys pitch really well."

Green, Nestor Cortes and Luis Cessa combined to limit Tampa Bay to one run and five hits over 7 2/3 innings, with Cessa logging his first win of the season behind 3 1/3 scoreless innings.

"Once again, our pitching was great today," Brett Gardner said. "It's a long day of baseball, but we got the results we wanted."

Voit put the Yankees on the board with his 18th home run, a solo shot off starter Charlie Morton. It snapped a 17-game homerless streak for Voit, whose last long ball cleared the fence on June 14, against the White Sox, prior to his stint on the injured list stint for an abdominal strain.

"It's hard to believe that my last home run was in Chicago," Voit said. "Injuries are hard to come back from. Sometimes you try to do too much, and I think that's what I did for the last five or six games."

Morton cruised through five frames but lost command of the strike zone in the Bombers’ four-run sixth, balking in the go-ahead run as he halted mid-windup on a pitch. Morton then surrendered a two-run single to Didi Gregorius, and Andrew Kittredge issued a bases-loaded walk to Mike Tauchman.

"Now we're up eight games. That's huge for us," Voit said. "I think that's our 12th win against those guys. To do it against a Cy Young candidate right now [in Morton] is pretty impressive. We grinded it out, up and down the lineup. It was a big team win tonight."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.