MINNEAPOLIS – Off the bat of Max Kepler, the ball look destined to drop in and tie, or even give the lead to the Twins. Instead, Aaron Hicks made a sensational catch that ended the ballgame and gave the Yankees the victory, 14-12.
In a game that truly had everything, there was no better way to end over five hours of thrilling baseball.
Early on in the battle of first place teams, Minnesota absolutely blasted Domingo German, who struggled mightily tonight. The Yankees scored the game’s first two runs but the Yankee right-hander proceeded to allow 8 unanswered runs in just 3.2 innings.
Even down big, however, the Yankees continued to fight. Didi Gregorius, who had earlier driven two runs in the first inning, came up big in the fifth inning, clubbing a three-run home run to cut the deficit to 8-5.
Gregorius ended the night with five hits and seven RBIs in a career night for the Yankee shortstop.
Though the Twins added another run later on, the Bombers finally broke through in the eighth inning. Down 9-5, Mike Tauchman scorched a RBI-double to open the scoring. Aaron Judge subsequently doubled as well to cut the lead to just a single run.
Then, with two men on and two out, Gregorius delivered yet again with a go-ahead RBI-double that scored both Aaron Judge and pinch-runner DJ LeMahieu. But the roller coaster was just starting.
With the Yankees now in front, 10-9, Aaron Boone turned to Zack Britton to hold down the Twins. Instead, the left-hander gave up Sano’s second home run of the night, a two-run shot, that gave the lead back to the home team. And it didn’t end there.
Down to their last strike, the Yankees’ last hope was represented by Hicks, down by a run. With Tauchman on-base, the Yankee center fielder drove a Taylor Rogers fastball deep to left center field as New York retook the lead yet again.
But of course, in this wild night, the Twins had yet another rally in them. Facing Aroldis Chapman, Minnesota drew three straight walks to open the bottom of the ninth. With still no outs, Polanco tied the score with a sacrifice fly.
Luckily for Chapman, he got both Cruz and Eddie Rosario to lineout to end the frame.
In the tenth, the Yankees got consecutive one-out singles versus Kohl Stewart to give Gleyber Torres a chance. Fighting off a fastball, Torres delivered another Yankee go-ahead hit, his second knock of the night. Austin Romine scored an important insurance run on a wild pitch later in the frame.
Adam Ottavino hoped to close out the Twins quietly in the bottom of the tenth but on this night, that surely wasn’t going to happen. After an attempt at an amazing double play by the infield was only able to get one out, Ottavino walked Mitch Garver to load the bases with two outs.
Boone then made the decision to bring in Chad Green to face Kepler, the Twins’ leadoff man. After a couple of close calls, Kepler drove a Green fastball to deep in left center field, only to be amazingly caught by Hicks to end the game.
One negative that did come out of this game is the possible IL stint of Gary Sanchez. Mired in a long slump, the catcher attempted to beat out a grounder for an infield hit. Instead, an ankle turn turned into a groin injury for Sanchez. Hopefully for the Yankees, it isn’t a serious injury and Sanchez can return soon.
J.A. Happ and Jake Odorizzi face off in the series finale tomorrow at 8:10 PM ET. Time will only tell if tomorrow’s game can top this one.