Travis d’Arnaud hit three home runs, including a startling three-run shot with two outs in the ninth inning off Aroldis Chapman, and the visiting Tampa Bay Rays came back to beat the Yankees, 5-4, on Monday night.
D’Arnaud went the other way on a full-count breaking ball, lofting a go-ahead drive that sailed over the leaping right fielder Aaron Judge. Several Rays players spilled from the dugout to congratulate d’Arnaud while the announced crowd of 43,173 fell silent.
D’Arnaud, a catcher who began his career with the Mets, tied a Tampa Bay record for homers in a game. It had previously been done four times, most recently by Evan Longoria in 2012.
The Yankees had been 49-0 this season when leading after eight innings. The Rays won for just the second time in seven games in the Bronx this year and cut the Yankees’ lead in the A.L. East to five games.
Andrew Kittredge (1-0) got the win despite allowing Edwin Encarnacion’s second homer of the game, a two-run shot in the eighth that put the Yankees ahead, 4-2. Oliver Drake recorded one out for his first save.
Chapman (2-2) gave up a pair of singles to begin the ninth, struck out the next two batters and then was tagged for d’Arnaud’s ninth homer of the season.
D’Arnaud, 30, has had a tumultuous season: He was designated for assignment by the Mets, signed by the Dodgers and traded to the Rays five days later.
But none of that mattered on this night as he became the first catcher to hit three homers in a game against the Yankees.
D’Arnaud led off the game with a homer to right field on a fastball over the middle of the plate. In the third, he hit another to a similar location on the same type of pitch from James Paxton.
D’Arnaud had never batted leadoff before this season, but the innovative Rays have slotted him there seven times. He reached base in all five of his plate appearances Monday, with two walks. It was the fourth multihomer game of d’Arnaud’s career and second this season.
Tampa Bay had lost 14 straight series openers in the Bronx.
Encarnacion, who began the day batting just .139 since being acquired from Seattle last month, hit a solo shot in the fourth off Blake Snell. After hooking a fastball foul, the slugger drove the next pitch in the same direction a few feet inside the foul pole.