NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 24: Aroldis Chapman #54 of the New York Yankees pitches in the ninth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium on June 24, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Boston (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
After an exciting walk-off and a day off, the Yankees started another home series with the Minnesota Twins.
After two scoreless innings between Masahiro Tanaka and Tommy Milone, the Twins rallied from the bottom of the order. Kurt Suzuki led off the third inning with a single and Byron Buxton followed with a double to put two in scoring position. Former Yankee Eduardo Nunez hit a single to center field that scored two and put the Yankees behind early.
Trailing, the Yankees had a response in their second time through the order against Milone.
After a dropped fielding error by shortstop Eduardo Escobar, the Twins recorded two outs but Carlos Beltran saved the inning with a double to left field, scoring the Yankees’ first run of the game. A single by Alex Rodriguez tied it at two.
In the fourth inning, the Twins got two on with one out and brought home the run that put them back ahead when Byron Buxton grounded out. In the bottom half of the inning, Chase Headley led off with a walk. Didi Gregorius pushed a bunt for a single and a fielding error by Joe Mauer loaded the bases with no outs. Austin Romine got under it just enough to miss a home run but the sacrifice fly to left field tied the game for the second time. After the second out came on the ground, Rob Refsnyder came through with another Yankees two-out hit, putting the Yankees ahead by one.
Throughout tonight’s start, Masahiro Tanaka struggled as pitches hung in the zone and were being put into the outfield for hits. After receiving a lead for the first time, scoreless innings were crucial. In the fifth inning, Tanaka allowed a two-out hit but got a fly out to end the inning. In the sixth inning, Eduardo Escobar led off with a single but Tanaka maintained his composure. After getting the first out of the inning, Tanaka got Kurt Suzuki to ground into an inning-ending double play to keep the one-run lead intact.
In six innings, Masahiro Tanaka allowed three runs on seven hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.
With a lead after six innings, Dellin Betances got the call for the seventh inning and retired all three batters in order, including one strikeout.
With the Yankees leading by one, an insurance run can provide the cushion needed to lock up tonight’s win. With one out in the eighth inning, center fielder Aaron Hicks took Buddy Boshers deep for his third home run of the season and his first as a right-handed batter.
With insurance added, Andrew Miller cruised through the eighth inning, including one strikeout like Betances.
In the ninth inning, Aroldis Chapman came on and came with fire. On three strikes, all 101 MPH or higher, Eduardo Escobar struck out swinging for the first out. On three strikes, all 102 MPH or higher, Byung Ho Park struck out swinging for the second out. It took Kurt Suzuki five pitches, four of 103 MPH but the called third strike came on a changeup at 91 MPH.
Aroldis Chapman struck out three batters with 10 pitches of 101 MPH or higher. Wow.
Win – Masahiro Tanaka (5-2)
Loss – Tommy Milone (0-2)
Save – Aroldis Chapman (14)
*Eduardo Nunez – 1 for 4, 2 RBI (28)
*Kurt Suzuki – 2 for 4, R, 2B
*Carlos Beltran – 1 for 3, R, BB, 2B, RBI (52)
*Aaron Hicks – 1 for 3, R, BB, Solo home run (3) in the 8th, RBI (14)