NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge homered and drove in three runs, and Jordan Montgomery struck out seven in an impressive Major League debut, powering the Yankees to an 8-4 victory over the Rays on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.
Facing a three-run deficit in the fifth inning, the Yankees scored eight straight runs to flip the script. Judge's game-tying, sixth-inning single whistled past Jumbo Diaz into center field at 116.5 mph, according to Statcast™, part of a four-run frame against the Tampa Bay bullpen.
The rookie slugger homered for the third straight game, dispatching a 437-foot homer to Monument Park in the seventh.
"I was just trying to make contact," Judge said. "If my barrel can beat the ball to a spot, I think good things are going to happen. That's all I was trying to do there."
Rickie Weeks Jr. hit a first-inning homer off the left-handed Montgomery, who settled down to scatter five hits over 4 2/3 innings. He took a no-decision but will be rewarded with another turn in the Yankees' rotation.
"You can't let that kind of stuff snowball," Montgomery said. "You've just got to forget it and go right at the next guy. You never want to give up a two-run jack in the first inning, but I just tried to focus after that and get back after it."
Rays left-hander Blake Snell lasted 4 2/3 innings, permitting two runs (none earned) on two hits.
"We've got to play cleaner games, for sure, if we're going to win," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "We had opportunities early that we didn't capitalize on. Their pitcher, he did a nice job of limiting damage. Mixed all of his pitches in really well. We had some situations with guys on base where we just couldn't quite push some more runs across."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Opening the door: Snell cruised through the first four innings before the Yanks loaded the bases in the fifth on a Chase Headley hit, Judge's walk and an error by shortstop Timothy Beckham, who booted a Kyle Higashioka grounder. Snell recovered to induce two popouts but lost Aaron Hicks to a walk, forcing home a run.
"I'm frustrated with that, but I'm going to learn from it," Snell said.
Diaz uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Judge to trot home with the Yanks' second run.
Two big booms: New York tied the game in the sixth as Judge chased home Starlin Castro with the hardest hit measured by Statcast™ so far this season. The Yanks tied the game two batters later, but it could have come at a price, as pinch-hitter Brett Gardner collided with first baseman Weeks following a tapper back to the mound. Both players left the game after the play, which was charged as an error to pitcher, Xavier Cedeno. More >
"Two Mack trucks collided," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "[Gardner is] going to be sore, I would expect, even more so than he is now. He's really tough. Having the awareness to get up and still try to get back to the bag and secure the base is pretty impressive stuff, but he got banged up pretty good."
"Strong guy. ... Obviously, when he gets it and he gets it up in the air, it's going to go."
-- Cash, on Judge
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Rays batters have homered in 11 straight games at Yankee Stadium (since April 23, 2016), the second-longest streak by a visitor at the venue. It trails their own 13-game streak from July 28, 2013 through Sept. 11, 2014.
The Rays challenged an out call when Derek Norris tried to stretch a single into a double in the fourth. After a delay of 2 minutes, 27 seconds, the call on the field was upheld.
When Weeks reached on an error by Yankees second baseman Castro in the fifth, he tried to sneak into second and was called safe on a close play. The Yankees challenged the call and after a delay of 2 minutes, 38 seconds, the call on the field was overturned.
Rays:Matt Andriese (0-0, 9.00 ERA) will make his second start of the season as the Rays finish their three-game series against the Yankees on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. ET. Andriese is 1-2 with a 6.05 ERA in five career appearances (three starts) against the Yankees.
Yankees:Luis Severino (0-0, 7.20 ERA) has the ball as the Yankees conclude their three-game series with Tampa Bay on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. Severino is 3-1 with a 3.47 ERA in seven career games (three starts) against the Rays.