Though the Rays remain the home team, those games were shifted to the New York Mets' Citi Field, with the set beginning on Monday and slated to conclude on Wednesday. They need to tighten that up in time for the playoffs when tight games are the name of the game.
"It felt a little weird for sure", Gray said. "I got beat at a point in the game where you can't get beat".
With Rays at first and third, Gray fanned Hechavarria on five pitches, the last an 86-mph slider.
Lucas Duda followed with a fly ball double to right, but a bigger inning was prevented due to the Yanks' infield shift on Logan Morrison.
The Rays finally solved Gray - who retired 12 of 13 between the first and fifth and nine in a row from the fifth through eighth - when Hechavarria laced a one-out homer deep into the left field seats.
"Normally, I'm out of my element swinging that hard, I normally don't swing that hard", Hechavarria said through an interpreter. The Yankees (78-66) saw their lead over Minnesota for the first wild card fall to three games. Alex Colome closed for his 44th save in 49 chances.
Rays: RHP Chris Archer (9-9, 4.00) goes into Wednesday's game at 6-6 with a 2.82 ERA in 16 career starts against the Yankees, throwing at least six innings every time.
With the loss, the Yankees' lead in the first wildcard spot over the Twins dropped to three games as Minnesota blew out San Diego 16-0 behind seven home runs, including one in each of the first seven innings, a Major League Baseball record. "But tonight, it wasn't meant to be".
Sabathia didn't factor into the decision last Tuesday after surrendering five runs over 5 1/3 innings as the Yankees fell 7-6 to the Orioles in Baltimore.
The lack of run support is not new for Gray. "It didn't feel like we're the home team", Rays reliever Steve Cishek said. "Over the long haul, when you pitch like that, it's going to work out really well for everyone involved". The Yankees will host the Rays in their home opener on April 2.
NOTES: Rays OF Steven Souza Jr. returned to the lineup after missing three games with a bruised left knee.
Greg Bird, who is suffering from back spasms and has missed 103 games this season, had an MRI yesterday. The Tampa Bay Rays have named right hander Blake Snell as Tuesday's starter versus the division rival New York Yankees.
Not only is it nice to see the Yankees pick up the playoff slack left behind by the Mets, who were supposed to be the "it" team in 2017, it's nice that the one player who remembers their last World Series team is still pitching, and pitching well.
Baseball released its 2018 schedule, and it has the Sox finishing at home against the Yankees on September 28-30.