NEW YORK — Aaron Judge hit his 51st home run to give the Yankees a quick lead, but New York missed a big chance to tighten the AL East race when Sonny Gray and the bullpen fell apart Thursday night in a 9-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Yankees stayed three games behind division-leading Boston. Each team has three games left and both are assured playoff spots; if they wind up even, the Yankees would host the Red Sox in a tiebreaker game Monday.

Brett Gardner, Greg Bird and pinch-hitter Aaron Hicks also homered for New York, which had won three straight. Wilson Ramos homered during a seven-run burst in the fifth inning for the Rays, who had lost three straight.

Gardner and Judge hit back-to-back homers to begin the bottom of the first inning, and Bird connected in the fourth for a 4-1 edge.

INDIANS 5, TWINS 2: Carlos Carrasco struck out 14, Jason Kipnis and Roberto Perez hit two-run homers and Cleveland notched its 100th win by beating visiting Minnesota – which clinched a wild-card berth late Wednesday night when the Angels lost at the Chicago White Sox.

Carrasco (18-6) dominated a Minnesota lineup loaded with reserves and September call-ups. He allowed six hits – all singles – in 81/3 innings and improved to 3-0 with a 0.92 ERA against the Twins. Carrasco also moved into a tie for the league lead in wins with teammate Corey Kluber and Jason Vargas of Kansas City.

TIGERS 4, ROYALS 1: Daniel Norris threw five scoreless innings to pick up his first victory in more than three months as Detroit won at Kansas City, Missouri, to snap a season-high nine-game losing streak.

Norris (5-8) gave up two hits in five innings. He was 0-4 in four starts and four relief appearances since a June 16 triumph over Tampa Bay.

ATHLETICS 4, RANGERS 1: Ryon Healy hit a tiebreaking two-run single in the sixth inning to help Oakland win at Arlington, Texas.

It was the fifth straight road win for the Athletics and seventh consecutive loss for the Rangers. It’s Texas’ longest skid since an eight-game slide in 2015.


BREWERS 4, REDS 3: Milwaukee won at home to close within two games of Colorado for the National League’s second wild card with three games left, rallying as Brett Phillips hit a go-ahead double in the sixth inning.

Milwaukee (84-75) closes the regular season at St. Louis and the Rockies are home against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Brewers are assured of their best record since finishing 96-66 in 2011, when they lost to the Cardinals in the NL Championship Series, Milwaukee’s last playoff appearance.

MARLINS 7, BRAVES 1: Giancarlo Stanton homered twice to become the first player to hit 59 in a season since 2001, and Miami won at home.

Stanton hit a solo home run in the fourth, then added a two-run drive in the eighth.

NATIONALS 5, PIRATES 4: Washington won at home after Pittsburgh’s starting pitcher, Ivan Nova, left after getting hit by a pitch on his throwing hand while batting.

CUBS 2, CARDINALS 1: St. Louis was eliminated from postseason contention when Leonys Martin leaped at the center-field fence to rob Paul DeJong of a tying home run with two outs in the 11th inning at home.


ATHLETICS: Bob Melvin is set to manage the team for at least two more years,with his latest extension taking him through the 2019 season.

RANGERS: The team held a groundbreaking ceremony for its $1.1 billion retractable-roof stadium scheduled to open in time for the 2020 season.

NATIONALS: Outfielder Bryce Harper was out of the starting lineup because he felt sore after returning this week from a knee injury that sidelined him for about a quarter of the season.

MARLINS: Derek Jeter has about a 4 percent stake in the group buying the team and retired NBA great Michael Jordan approximately half of one percent, part of a $1.2 billion purchase from Jeffrey Loria that includes $800 million in cash.