Domingo German
AP Photo

Gio Urshela came through in another clutch situation, as the New York Yankees inched closer to first place in the AL East.

Geoff Magliocchetti

The St. Petersburg, Florida area was rocked by storms on Friday evening. The local Tampa Bay Rays were protected from the water by Tropicana Field’s roof. They couldn’t weather the storm brewing on the field, one that’s threatening their American League East division lead.

A two-run single by Gio Urshela gave the New York Yankees the lead for good in the sixth inning. Another shutdown performance from the bullpen gave the visitors a 4-3 win in the first stage of an important three-game set. The Yankees (23-15) are now a half-game out the division lead.

Urshela continues to come up big for the Yankees in his debut season in pinstripes. For the second consecutive game, the victorious difference came from his bat. His game-changing single came less than 24 hours after a duplicate hit in the eighth inning gave the Yankees a 3-1 win over the Seattle Mariners in The Bronx. Urshela now has 13 runs batted in this season.

The hit allowed Domingo German (W, 7-1) to earn his fourth win in as many starts. German entered Friday’s game having allowed just two home runs on the year, but that total was matched in the fifth inning. Austin Meadows tied the game with a two-run blast and Ji-Man Choi gave the Rays (23-14) a brief lead via his solo shot two batters later. German struck out five and allowed five hits over five frames.

Granted the 4-3 lead, Yankee relievers held down the fort. Tommy Kahnle, Adam Ottavino, Zack Britton, and Aroldis Chapman combined to go four innings and allow three hits. Ottavino got into trouble during his appearance in the seventh inning, loading the bases via two walks and a bunt single before recording an out. He worked his way out of it with a strikeout of Tommy Pham, before forcing Choi into a double play.

The Yankees scored their prior runs in the first inning. DJ LeMahieu came home on a passed ball and Gleyber Torres hit an RBI single that scored Luke Voit.

Rays starter Tyler Glasnow (L, 6-1) settled down after the first two runs, one of which was unearned. After the second tally, he escaped the frame by forcing Miguel Andujar into a double play. Glasnow went on to pitch 5.1 innings, striking out nine before leaving the game with forearm tightness. Emilio Pagan failed to stop his inherited runners, charging him with the loss. Glasnow is expected to be further evaluated on Saturday.

The Yankees will continue their three-game set with the Rays on Saturday evening (6:10 p.m. ET, YES). CC Sabathia (2-1, 3.20 ERA) will pitch for the Yankees. Tampa Bay has yet to unveil their starter.

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