In a statement series, the New York Yankees outscored the slugging Minnesota Twins, taking two of three in Minneapolis. The series victory was also important when it comes to home-field advantage in the American League playoffs. The seesaw series displayed how relentless this Yankee team can be on any given night.
The Twins beat the Yankees at their own game, displaying power and slick defense in an 8-6 victory.
During the first frame, the Yankees had Martin Perez on the ropes with consecutive free passes to DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge. Yet, Edwin Encarnacion bounded into an inning-ending, 5-4-3 triple-play. New York would bang into another pair of double-plays as the game progressed as part of a 2-for-12 evening with RISP.
The Metrodome is long gone but the homer hankies are back in vogue in Minneapolis. Jorge Polanco and Nelson Cruz clobbered CC Sabathia for consecutive clouts in the home half of the first. Max Kepler and Mitch Garver also took Sabathia deep in the fourth inning. Garver would add one more solo bomb for good measure against Luis Cessa in the sixth inning.
This was our 8th game this season where we hit 5-or-more #Bombas – the most in @MLB.
We join the 1977 @RedSox as the only 2 teams in baseball history to accomplish this.
Gio Urshela helped the Bronx Bombers on the board with a solo bomb to left-center in the third inning. Later in the frame, Encarnacion squared the game at two with a bases-loaded dunker to center. A solo shot to right by Luke Voit in the fourth inning and a two-run tater by LeMahieu in the fifth would also keep the Yankees within striking distance. Mike Tauchman also had himself another night with three hits and an RBI-single in the sixth.
I’m not on the “let’s destroy Gary Sanchez train” that is Yankees Twitter. That said, it was a rough evening for the New York backstop. Along with an 0-for-5 night, Sanchez was dinged for catcher interference with the bases-loaded and Cruz batting in the third. Not helping matters either that inning was a ball hit to Urshela with one on and zero outs, which LeMahieu couldn’t scoop out for the force out.
In other words, it was quite the role reversal game for these two clubs.
The middle game took about five hours and probably five years off of your life. There were so many twists and turns in a game that had an intense playoff feel, as the Yankees staved off the Twins for a 14-12 win.
Gregorius jumped New York on the board with a two-run double to left-center off Kyle Gibson in the first frame. With Yankees in an 8-2 hole in the fifth, Gregorius got the Yankees off the mat with a three-run jolt to right.
With ex-Yankee reliever Blake Parker on in the eighth, Tauchman lined an RBI-double to center, Judge followed with a two-run double to center (which should’ve been a triple if he had run all the way) and facing Ryne Harper, Gregorius capped off his offensive outburst with a two-run double to right-center, providing New York with a 10-9 advantage.
An acrobatic play by Gregorius helped Adam Ottavino record a pivotal second out in the tenth. More on the tenth inning defense later.
LET’S START OVER
We all know the Yankees need to trade for a starting pitcher at the deadline and really they might need to obtain two at this point. Domingo German was lit up like the Mall of America Christmas Tree. For the first time since 1994, when Jim Abbott, Melido Perez, and Terry Mulholland (there’s some names from the past huh?) turned the trick, Yankee starters yielded at least seven runs in three consecutive starts. German was creamed for eight runs on nine hits, including three home runs to Polanco, Cruz, and Sano, in 3.2 frames.
The bullpen was equally brutal late with Zack Britton getting crushed by a Sano two-run tater by Sano in the eighth, surrendering the lead. Plus, Aroldis Chapman was in full meltdown mode and Aaron Boone was going to ride or die with his closer despite it being blatantly obvious he had zero control, allowing the Twins to square the game at 12 on a sac fly by Polanco, without the benefit of a hit in the ninth.
HICKS HIVE, HICKS STICKS, HICKS DIVE
Inflicting pain on his former team late was Hicks. With one on and the Yankees trailing 11-10 in the ninth, Hicks swatted a two-run tater off Taylor Rogers to put the Bronx Bombers ahead 12-11.
With the game tied at 12 in the tenth, Gregorius kept his solid night going against Kohl Stewart with a one-out single to left. Austin Romine, playing for an injured Sanchez, who couldn’t buy a hit despite hitting bullets to short and third, plunked a hit into center. Torres followed with a clutch RBI-single to center. Romine would also score on a wild pitch for some insurance.
During the home half with two on and two outs, Chad Green on for Ottavino, Kepler at the dish, hit a rocket to left-center which was snared by a soaring Hicks to end the contest with an exclamation point!
Once again the Yankees were able to overcome a dubious outing by a starter and out-slugged the Twins 10-7.
That J.A. Happ and Patrick Corbin continue to pitch on the same night is flat out cruel. On the bright side, Happ only yielded six runs in his 3.1 frames. Happ was tagged for a two-run homer by Eddie Rosario in the first and was also rocked for a two-run shot by Marwin Gonzalez in the fourth.
RIGHT WHERE THEY WANT THEM
Thankfully Jake Odorizzi lived up to the first part of his last name and stunk up the joint. A Yankee lineup which collected 20 hits the previous night, banged out 15 hits on Wednesday evening.
During the second stanza, a Gregorius RBI-double got New York on the board. A two-run triple by Tauchman provided the Yankees with a 3-2 edge. A sac fly to right by Romine, doubled the lead.
Torres made history in his own right with a solo swat to left-center. The second baseman joins Cal Ripken Jr., Alex Rodriguez, and Carlos Correa, as the fourth middle infielder ever with multiple 20-home run seasons by age 22.
In the fourth, Hicks rocked an RBI-single to right. Gregorius also smoked a two-run triple to center.
Capping off the offense was Encarnacion with a solo shot to center off Devin Smeltzer, walking the parrot on a peg leg after fouling a ball off his leg. Encarnacion has eight consecutive seasons of 30+ home runs, the longest current streak in baseball.
Need. More. Parrot.
Edwin Encarnación with his 8th straight 30+ home run season – longest current streak in MLB.
Aside from a solo homer to Cruz in the fifth, Nestor Cortes Jr. gave the Yankees some length. Tommy Kahnle was a witch with 1.1 flawless frames and three K’s. Chapman locked down the game for the save.
At 66-35, the Yankees head to Fenway Park and take on the Boston Red Sox for a four-game series starting Thursday evening.