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Series Recap: Yankees take two from Twins

Since 2002, it’s death, taxes and the New York Yankees winning a series against the Minnesota Twins. It didn’t matter that the Yankees were depleted and the Twins were in first place in the AL Central, that’s just the way it is, as Bruce Hornsby would sing. As you’ll read below, the Yankees were able to get some reinforcements back but would also lose a big piece, because of course, that’s how life works in 2019. In any event, it was a solid series victory which saw the Yankees take two of three from the Twins.

GAME 1

There were ups, namely Gary Sanchez going blast off, and downs, notably James Paxton going down and placed on the IL with an injury to his left knee, which will keep him out at least three weeks. In the end, it was an otherwise solid 6-3 victory in the Bronx.

SCRATCHING AND SCRAPING

The plucky pinstripes were back at it early against Kyle Gibson. Brett Gardner set the table by reaching on a three-base error by Byron Buxton in center. Luke Voit continued his on-base streak to 42 with a free pass. Gleyber Torres extended his hitting streak to nine straight with an RBI-single to left.

During the second stanza, a one-out walk by Cameron Maybin and Tyler Wade hit by pitch set up the Yankees on an RBI-single to left by Voit.

PAX CRACKS

Paxton had issues locating his fastball, yielding three walks and two hits on the four-seam pitch. A double-play helped him work out of trouble in the second inning but a botched play at shortstop by Torres prolonged the third inning and enabled a run to eventually score. Paxton had to leave the game after the third and one can’t help but wonder if he tweaked something when he laid down a bunt and ran during the sixth inning in San Francisco.

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EL KRAKEN GETS WHACKIN’

With the Bronx Bombers up 4-1 in the fifth, Sanchez obliterated a 2-1 fastball from Gibson to left.

Sanchez followed the thunder with some lightning in the seventh, smashing a laser to left off a 1-2 fastball from Mike Morin for his tenth home run of the campaign.

BULLPEN PULLS IT TOGETHER

Aside from Zack Britton getting clocked for a two-run bomb by Nelson Cruz in the eighth, the pinstripe pen was on the mark. Jonathan Holder, Adam Ottavino and Tommy Kahnle combined for four perfect frames. Holder had a nice mix of his fastball, slider, and changeup, recording a pair of strikeouts on the latter two pitches in two innings. Ottavino whiffed two in the sixth, Cruz on a fastball and C.J. Cron on his whiffle ball slider. Kahnle ran his string to retiring 27 of his last 29 with two of the outs coming via the changeup.

Aroldis Chapman nailed it down with a solid fastball/slider mix and range of velocity, whiffing Ehire Adrianza to close out the victory.

GAME 2

“Do or do not. There is no try,” Yoda. The Yankees did not do much of anything against Jake Odorizzi, hell, even Voit didn’t get on base. After it looked like he was turning the corner, J.A. Happ morphed back into the 2006 version of Aaron Small/Shawn Chacon. The underbelly of the bullpen wouldn’t help keep it close either. New York got some reinforcements back but it wasn’t enough in a 7-3 loss.

HAPP HAZARD

Happ was awful, surrendering four runs in 5.2 frames, including a two-run homer to Mitch Garver in the third and a solo shot to Cron in the sixth. It would’ve been worse if Maybin hadn’t robbed what would’ve been a three-run jolt to right in the fourth inning by Jonathan Schoop.

EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

DJ LeMahieu and Miguel Andujar were inserted back into the lineup and accounted for the Yankee hits against Odorizzi. Unfortunately, Andujar didn’t miss a beat in the field either, making a pair of errors.

Against Trevor Hildenberger, Gardner scored on a wild pitch and LeMahieu plated Maybin with a single to left in the seventh inning.

THE FORCE IS STRONG WITH THIS ONE

It wouldn’t be enough but the force and perhaps some sleepy fans in the stands were awakened with another Sanchez blast. Serving as DH, Sanchez went yard for the third time in two games. His eleventh home run of the season came off a full-count fastball from ex-Yankee Blake Parker in the eighth. It’s incredible given the time he’s missed and he’s still among the league leaders in the junior circuit in home runs.

GAME 3

It was a wet and wild Cinco de Mayo at Yankee Stadium. There was enough of a window opening for the Yankees to douse the Twins 4-1 in eight innings after the umpires mercifully called the game.

CINCO DOMINGO

Domingo German was darting and dotting the black. German kept the ball down and away and mixed his curveball and two-seam fastball masterfully and even threw in a backdoor changeup for good measure.

On his ledger, German tossed 6.2 innings, yielded one run on four hits and three walks and fanned seven. A Marwin Gonzalez RBI-single to center in the fourth, on essentially the only curveball left up in the zone, would be the damage allowed by German.

It was a huge statement start after the news came down that ace Luis Severino won’t be back until after the All-Star break.

TWINS NOT ON FLEEK

Former Yankee Michael Pineda found himself with a high pitch count, racking up strikeouts and yet mired with an early deficit. Also otherwise known as a textbook Pineda outing.

With the bases loaded, LeMahieu came through again with a single up the middle, fielded by shortstop Jorge Polanco and fired wide of first base, enabling a second run to cross the plate. LeMahieu extended his hitting streak to seven consecutive games.

MIKE ON MIKE CRIME

During the fourth frame, Mike Tauchman hit one of those “Stephen Drew, I just bought myself two more weeks on the roster,” home runs, off Pineda. After a Gio Urshela one-out single to shortstop, Tauchman whacked a two-out, two-run tater to right, making it 4-1 Bronx Bombers.

TOMMY GUN BULLPEN FUN

On in relief of German, Kahnle had his changeup working as well for the final out of the seventh. Retiring the side with a strikeout of Max Kepler, Kahnle became the third pitcher in major league history to record at least one strikeout but not allow a hit or run in 11 consecutive relief appearances.

Ottavino recorded the first two outs of the eighth inning and Chapman pushed his way through the raindrops for a strikeout to end the eighth.

ON DECK

At 19-14, the Yankees turn their attention to hosting the Seattle Mariners for a four-game series starting Monday evening at Yankee Stadium.

Pitching probables, Felix Hernandez vs. CC Sabathia, Marco Gonzales vs. Masahiro Tanaka, Yusei Kikuchi vs. Jonathan Losisiga, Mike Leake vs. J.A. Happ.

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