This series started out ugly for the Yankees, but they were ultimately able to win their third straight series coming out of the All-Star Break. After the first game, they used a combination of key hits and impressive starting pitching to overcome the upstart Minnesota Twins. As the season heads into the dog days of August, the Yankees hold a 6 game lead over the Blue Jays in the AL East.
The Yankees were drubbed in the first game by a score of 10-1. Phil Hughes, who started his career in pinstripes, scattered 7 hits over 7 shutout innings to earn his 9th win of the year. The Yankees totaled 10 hits in the ballgame but couldn’t get anything going offensively until they scored their lone run in the 9th on a sac fly by Jacoby Ellsbury. 3 Yankees players had 2 hits, including 3 by Mark Teixeira, but it was all for naught.
Minnesota feasted on Yankees pitching. Starter Michael Pineda gave up 5 runs, as did the combination of Branden Pinder and Chris Capuano. They scored 4 times in the 8th to make it a rout, highlighted by homers by Trevor Plouffe and Brian Dozier. Miguel Sano and Torii Hunter also homered for the Twins, who totaled 14 hits in the opening game of the series.
For 8 innings, it looked like the Twins would take the second game as well. That was until Alex Rodriguez and John Ryan Murphy had anything to say about it. A-Rod hit his 3rd homer of the game to tie it at 5. Then Murphy cashed in with a go-ahead 3-run homer to seal the deal. For A-Rod, all 3 home runs went at least 420 feet, and he did it just two days shy of his 40th birthday. Murphy and Rodriguez combined to drive in 7 of the teams 8 runs. The other came from a Chase Headley sac fly.
CC Sabathia did not do enough to keep his team in the game while he was in. He gave up 5 runs in 5.2 innings and allowed 2 home runs. Minnesota opened the scoring with a 2-run homer by Aaron Hicks in the bottom of the 1st. They scored 3 times in the 3rd as well, as Hunter hit his second homer in 2 days. The Yankees bullpen allowed just one hit in the final 3.1 innings.
After being held quiet for the first 4 innings in the 3rd game, the Yankees opened the floodgates in the 5th and the 6th to win 7-2. They scored once in the 5th on a Chase Headley dinger, then opened up for 6 in the 6th. The spurt was capped off by a Stephen Drew homer. From there, the Yankees did not look back. Headley paced the attack with 2 hits and RBI in back-to-back innings. Most of their damage was done off of starter Kyle Gibson, who gave up 6 runs.
Nathan Eovaldi was masterful against Minnesota. He went 8 innings, giving up only 2 runs, struck out 5, and walked only 1. He allowed 8 hits, but half of those came from Dozier and Aaron Hicks. Eovaldi came out to start the 9th, but was taken out after giving up a leadoff double to Sano.
The Yankees seem to be getting hot at the right time. Here were some of the big stories from this series.
Offensive MVP: Alex Rodriguez- 3 homers and 4 RBI in one night, 4-12 series.
Offensive Slug: Brian McCann– Zero hits in 6 ABs.
Pitcher of the Series: Nathan Eovaldi- 8 innings of very solid work in the finale.
Pitching Agony: Michael Pineda- Had been pitching well, but gave up too many runs this time around.