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Rays take the series & 1st place, for now.


Johnson smacked a pair of two-run homers Wednesday night, lifting the Rays to a 4-3 victory over the New York Yankees and back into first place in the AL East.

“My goodness,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. “This guy does nothing but get big hits.”

The teams with baseball’s top two records flip-flopped positions in the standings for the third straight night. The first two games of the important series went extra innings, with the Rays winning 1-0 on Monday and the Yankees regaining the division lead by a half-game with an 8-7 win on Tuesday.

The finale was filled with plenty of drama, too, even though the teams are far from finished. They’ll play four more games in New York next week, with Tampa Bay holding an 8-6 edge in the season series.

“This is about as close to a playoff atmosphere as you can get without actually being in the playoffs,” said Johnson, who also drove in the winning runs in two victories over Boston last month, including a 10th-inning walk-off homer on Aug. 28.