NEW YORK — Gary Sánchez hit a three-run homer to help chase Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell in the first inning, CC Sabathia got his 250th career win and the New York Yankees thumped the Tampa Bay Rays 12-1 Wednesday to complete a three-game sweep.
Gleyber Torres added a grand slam during a six-run seventh inning, and New York three-hit Tampa Bay to win its fifth in a row and extend its lead the AL East over the second-place Rays by 3 1/2 games. Tampa Bay was swept for the second time this season — the other came against Boston in April.
Snell (4-6) walked four, gave up two hits and was charged with six runs while getting one out on 39 pitches in the shortest start of his career. He is the first reigning Cy Young winner to allow at least six runs and get no more than one out in a start, according to STATS.
Colin Poche replaced the left-hander with the bases loaded, hit Gio Urshela with a pitch and allowed a two-run single to DJ LeMahieu before ending the inning. Snell’s previous shortest start was one-plus inning against the Yankees on Sept. 26, 2017.
Sabathia (4-4) pitched one-run ball over six innings. He struck out seven and allowed three hits and three walks. The left-hander has a 2.06 ERA in six starts against the Rays over the past two seasons.
New York had just three hits during the six-run first inning. Sánchez’s homer was his 21st in 54 games this season. The Yankees have homered in 22 consecutive games, three shy of the franchise record from 1941.
After the rocky first, Tampa Bay’s bullpen retired 16 straight until Adam Kolarek walked LeMahieu with one out in the seventh. That got the Yankees going all over again, with Sánchez hitting an RBI double and Torres delivering his first career slam while New York batted around for the second time.
The Rays used eight relievers before moving third baseman Daniel Robertson to the mound to start the eighth. He pitched a 1-2-3 inning thanks to a double play.
Jonathan Holder and Luis Cessa pitched hitless ball over the final three innings for New York.