MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — The New York Yankees found their slump buster in the Minnesota Twins. Unfortunately, the Yankees were more snake bit with finishing off a sweep but something had to give. On the plus side, some of the Yankee bats appear to be regaining some confidence and positive vibes but we’ll see if it translates beyond Minnesota.
Beggars can’t be choosers. It took some packing and patching and rolling with a couple of big boulders at the end but the Yankees built a snowman and doubled up the Twins 8-4.
At first, it appears as though after hitting rock bottom the Yankees were falling into a bottomless pit. Jordan Montgomery yielded a two-run double to left to Ryan Jeffers in the first frame for an early deficit.
SCRATCH AND SNIFF SOME RUNS
Big Mike Pineda, much bigger than when we last left him, got off to a decent start but fell off in the fifth frame. After issuing a one-out, bases-loaded walk to Aaron Judge, his evening was done. The Yankees knotted the contest at two after a Jorge Alcala wild pitch enabled Brett Gardner to score. A Gardner sac fly to left off Alex Colome in the sixth inning, gave New York its first lead.
ROB REFSNYDER REDEMPTION TOUR
Another old friend burned the Yankees as manager Aaron Boone opted to allow Montgomery to battle through the sixth with one on and two out. Yet, after a wild pitch enabled Trevor Larnach to advance to second base, Refsnyder clocked an RBI double to center to tie the score.
BINGO THEN BOPPERS
The Yankees continued to take advantage of a Twins team that made four errors on the night. Facing Taylor Rogers, pinch-hitter Clint Frazier singled. Ensuing batter Miguel Andujar singled as well. Pinch-runner Tyler Wade and Andujar advanced on a sac bunt by Gardner. Wade would score on a fielder’s choice by DJ LeMahieu and an errant throw by second baseman Jorge Polanco. Another fielder’s choice and error on a ball hit by Judge, by shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who missed the bag at second, enabled Andujar to score.
During the ninth inning, the Bronx Bombers’ power was on full display. Gary Sanchez destroyed a 2-2 slider to left from Griffin Jax for a two-run tater.
If you woke up out of a 2019 coma, we have a lot to discuss. However, watching this game, if you didn’t know any better, you would’ve thought the Bronx Bombers were back in full 2019 ALDS mode, crushing the Twins, 9-6. Well, they were crushing them, thanks Brooks Kriske. Actually, thanks to Kriske yacking up a gopher ball in the Gopher State, the Yankees won their first game this season when yielding five-plus runs.
GOPHER BALL GALORE
It was a five-star evening for the Yankee offense as they took Twins starter Randy Dobnak for a ride. Judge set the table with a home run to left-center off an 0-2 slider in the first frame.
After being called out by Josh Donaldson for using foreign substances on the ball, Gerrit Cole responded by fanning him twice. Cole labored somewhat, allowing a pair of solo homers in six innings of work but his Ks were up with nine on the evening and he didn’t yield any walks either.
It seemed as though the slump-busting Twins would also be the elixir to the Yankees trend in punting away a sweep. Alas, it was more like Lucy yanking the football from Charlie Brown, and this time the Yankees were on the other end of the result with a 7-5 loss. Unfortunately, much like Jose Altuve earlier in the season, Donaldson was among those getting the last laugh, as the Yankees lost for the first time this season when leading after eight innings. They also dropped to 6-14 in the final game of a series this year. Tip of the cap to Katie Sharp.
It was almost like “The Tortoise and the Hare.” The Yankees jumped out to an early advantage and virtually everything clicked. Yet, the Twins almost lulled them into a false sense of security and ultimately chipped away.
The Twins would get a run back off Michael King with a Nelson Cruz sac fly in the home half.
The teams continued to trade runs though as the Yankees seemingly kept the Twins at arm’s length. Gio Urshela hammered a solo homer to left in the fourth frame. The Twins responded on a Simmons RBI double in the home half.
Yet, in the seventh inning, the Twins would inch within striking distance as Cruz doubled home a run off Wandy Peralta.
Then in the ninth inning, Aroldis Chapman looked like he had nothing (too many warmups the night before?) and it bore out with batting practice stuff. Four consecutive blistering hits, including a game-tying two-run homer to left-center by Donaldson and a walk-off two-run round-tripper to center by Cruz, was the ultimate undoing in the end.
At 33-30, the Yankees travel to Philadelphia to take on the Philadelphia Phillies for a two-game set beginning on Saturday.
Pitching probables, Jameson Taillon vs. Vincent Velasquez, Domingo German vs. Aaron Nola.