New York Yankees center fielder Brett Gardner connected on a 2-0 pitch from Tampa Bay Rays starter Austin Pruitt in the bottom of the first inning during Friday's 6-1 victory, sending it flying over the center field fence.
In addition to giving the Yankees' an early 1-0 lead in the contest, Gardner became just the third player in franchise history to lead off a game with a home run after hitting a walk-off home run the game before, per the Elias Sports Bureau (via ESPN.com). Hall of Famer Joe Gordon (1940) and Roberto Kelley (1990) did the same.
Gardner doesn't have a history of tremendous power, but he's no stranger to home runs this season. He's gone deep 19 times through 101 games this season, trailing only right fielder Aaron Judge (33 homers) in the category. The 33-year-old had a previous career high of 17 home runs but has already surpassed that output in just 96 games played.
The Yankees have won five straight games and moved the team's record to 55-46. That recent stretch of success has moved the team into a half-game lead in the AL East over the Boston Red Sox.
New York returns to the diamond for the second of a three-game series against the Rays Saturday, sending Caleb Smith to the mound while squaring off against the Rays' Blake Snell.