NEW YORK — Leadoff man Aaron Judge singled twice during a six-run first inning off Corey Kluber as the New York Yankees started with seven straight hits for the first time since 1990 and routed the Tampa Bay Rays 10-3 Saturday.
Josh Donaldson homered early and Giancarlo Stanton connected late off a lob pitch as both players returned to the lineup and helped the AL East-leading Yankees move 41/2 games ahead of Tampa Bay. New York also clinched the season head-to-head tiebreaker over the Rays should the teams finish even atop the division.
Judge, leading the majors with 55 home runs, hit three singles in raising his average to .307. He is the first Yankees player to reach base at least three times in seven straight games since Mickey Mantle in June 1957.
The Yankees opened a game with seven straight hits – all singles – for the first time since starting a 15-3 win over Baltimore with eight hits in a row on Sept. 25, 1990. New York hit six singles on the first 21 pitches from Kluber (10-8).
Judge’s RBI single with two outs chased the two-time Cy Young Award winner after 32 pitches.
Donaldson came back from the paternity list and hit an RBI single that bounced off the top of the fence in the first, then homered in the second. He missed four games following the birth of his daughter.
Stanton hit his 25th home run, connecting on a 47 mph lob from catcher Christian Bethancourt in the eighth. Stanton had been limited to pinch-hitting appearances in the previous two games since fouling a ball off his left foot on Monday.
Stanton’s homer was his first extra-base hit in 55 at-bats since he homered and won the MVP award in the All-Star Game on July 19. He missed a month because of Achilles tendinitis.
New York starter Jameson Taillon (13-4) gave up three runs and six hits in 71/3 innings and got his 50th career win.
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