The key to MLB trade deadline returns: Sherman

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — With the Yankees on the verge of landing another big bat, one of their current sluggers came through against the Rays, in unlikely fashion.

After starting the game on the bench as a late scratch, Aaron Judge knocked in the winning run in the 10th inning of the Yankees’ 3-1 win over Tampa Bay at Tropicana Field.

Judge’s hard grounder up the middle off Pete Fairbanks was mishandled by shortstop Wander Franco, which allowed extra runner Gio Urshela to score from second to give the Yankees the lead. It was the Yankees’ first hit with runners in scoring position on the night.

After Fairbanks left with an injury, a wild pitch by Andrew Kittredge allowed Greg Allen to score from third after he’d reached on a hit by pitch to make it 3-1.

Aroldis Chapman pitched the bottom of the inning and walked Randy Arozarena with one out.

Aaron Judge’s single scored the go-ahead run in the 10th inning.AP

Nelson Cruz then pinch hit for Joey Wendle after Cruz had been scratched with a foot contusion. A Chapman wild pitch sent the runners to second and third with one out before Chapman got Cruz swinging for a second consecutive night.

That brought up Francisco Mejia, who sent a sky-high pop up toward the roof of the dome. DJ LeMahieu, playing first base and battling to see the ball against the background, made a diving catch to end the game for the Yankees’ second win in a row.

Chapman finished off a game in which the bullpen pitched five no-hit innings.

It came on a night when sources said the Yankees were closing in on a deal for Rangers slugger Joey Gallo.

They got five terrific innings from Nestor Cortes Jr. before Lucas Luetge tossed two shutout innings and Zack Britton a scoreless eighth.

They had a chance to take the lead in the top of the ninth, when Gary Sanchez singled to lead off the inning and was replaced by pinch-runner Tyler Wade.

After Brett Gardner flied to right, Wade moved to second on a balk by Wisler with Urshela at the plate. Wade was then doubled off second as Urshela’s lined out to second.

Cortes helped the Yankees on a night their bullpen was somewhat depleted after the Tuesday night trade of Luis Cessa and Justin Wilson to Cincinnati. Cortes pitched three scoreless innings before faltering in the fourth.

Franco led off with an infield hit. After Cortes retired Austin Meadows and Yandy Diaz, Brandon Lowe delivered an RBI double to right to give the Rays a 1-0 lead.

Cortes then hit Arozarena with a pitch before Joey Wendle lined out.

Still, Cortes gave the Yankees everything they could want Wednesday, allowing just the one run in five innings over the 79-pitch outing.

The Yankees tied it in the top of the fifth. Urshela reached on an error by Wendle at third. Allen followed with a double to right that sent Urshela to third.

The Yankees celebrate back-to-back close wins over the Rays.AP

After Judge — who was scratched for unspecified reasons shortly before the start of the game — pinch hit for Estevan Florial and struck out, LeMahieu’s sacrifice fly scored Urshela to make it 1-1. Gleyber Torres lined out to end the inning.

Luetge replaced Cortes to start the bottom of the sixth and tossed two shutout innings.

Torres ripped a double to right-center with one out in the eighth off Drew Rasmussen, who was replaced by Matt Wisler.

Rougned Odor followed with his third strikeout of the night — and the Yankees’ 13th of the game — and Giancarlo Stanton’s struggles continued, as he flied to right.

Britton entered in the eighth and walked Mejia before Brett Phillips hit into a double play in the scoreless inning.

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