Snell chased in 1st, Sabathia wins 250th, Yankees sweep Rays

Gary Sanchez 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. Sanchez'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 Sanchez 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. 
   Rays catcher Travis d'Arnaud was injured late in the 36-minute first inning, taking a foul ball off his right knee on the 55th pitch. He was visited by a trainer and remained in the game after being in considerable pain. Poche ended the inning two pitches later.
   Could have been worse. Per STATS, Baltimore Orioles pitchers used 99 pitches to get through an inning against the Texas Rangers in 1996, the most since pitch tracking began in 1988.
   The Yankees released Danny Farquhar , ending the relief pitcher's comeback try with New York more than a year after he collapsed in the Chicago White Sox dugout because of a ruptured aneurysm and brain hemorrhage. Farquhar made two appearances with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this month, allowing seven runs in three innings. 
   Rays: INF Yandy Diaz was placed on the 10-day injured list with right hamstring tightness, retroactive to Monday. Robertson was recalled from Triple-A Durham. 
   Yankees: LHP Jordan Montgomery is returning to New York for an MRI on his left shoulder a day after cutting short a live batting practice session against minor league hitters. Montgomery is recovering from Tommy John surgery in his left elbow. ... OF Giancarlo Stanton was rested a day after returning from the injured list following biceps, shoulder and calf injuries. ... OF Aaron Judge (left oblique strain) was back in the lineup with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He's expected to rejoin the Yankees on Friday. 
   Rays: RHP Charlie Morton (8-1, 2.37) starts the opener of a four-game series at Oakland on Thursday night. RHP Frankie Montas (9-2, 2.85) is up for the A's in a showdown of potential AL All-Star pitchers.
   Yankees: New York hasn't named a starter for its series opener against Houston on Thursday night. LHP Framber Valdez (3-2, 2.77) is up for the Astros.