Gregorius lifts Yankees past Twins
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[June 17, 2016]
By Dan Myers, The Sports Xchange
MINNEAPOLIS -- After watching the
Minnesota Twins squander chance after chance with runners in scoring
position early in the game on Thursday, Didi Gregorius made them pay
with one swing of the bat.
Gregorius hit a three-run homer to break a tie game in the top of
the seventh inning to help the New York Yankees to a 4-1 win at
The Yankees shortstop known more for his glove, hit the first pitch
he saw from reliever Fernando Abad over the right-field fence for
his sixth homer of the season, giving the Yankees' lights-out
bullpen all it would need down the stretch.
"He threw me a fastball right down the middle and I hit a home run,"
Gregorius said. (I was looking for) a pitch in the zone that I can
drive. Not looking to hit a home run but it happened. At least drive
one run in. That's what you always look for in that situation."
New York snapped a four-game losing streak and continued its
dominance over Minnesota. The Yankees have won six straight against
Minnesota dating back to last season and are 70-27 versus the Twins
since 2002, a .722 winning percentage that is the highest against
any opponent during that span.
For Abad, it was his first home run allowed in 22 2/3 innings this
"We just wanted to give him a chance to come in and face that part
of the lineup," said Twins manager Paul Molitor. "You're hoping for
a strikeout but even a walk wouldn't be the worst thing in the
world. He tried to get ahead and (Gregorius) was ready."
C.C. Sabathia (5-4) earned the victory, allowing one run on six hits
and three walks in six innings, striking out seven. Sabathia
stranded nine Minnesota runners through five innings, allowing the
Yankees offense time to get going.
"Just trying to mix some pitches. My command was off all over the
place, two-seamer tonight, had a lot of runners on, threw a lot of
pitches, but was able to make some pitches," Sabathia said. "(Brian
McCann) caught a good game and had some pitches when we needed it."
Sabathia has now allowed two earned runs or fewer in each of his
last seven starts and lowered his season ERA to 2.20.
"He's the guy that I've always said finds a way, and he competes and
he wants the ball and he takes the pressure off the other guys,"
said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. "He's been really good."
Relievers Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller worked a scoreless
inning apiece to bridge the gap to closer Aroldis Chapman, who
secured his 12th save.
Kyle Gibson (0-4) was brilliant in the early going, but allowed
five-straight hitters to reach to start the sixth inning. The
Yankees got just one run out of it however, as Gibson got a pop out
to second and a double-play grounder to escape the jam after loading
the bases with nobody out.
Alex Rodriguez and Brian McCann got aboard to start the seventh and
were both moved into scoring position on a bunt by Starlin Castro,
ending Gibson's night.
Abad entered and immediately surrendered the homer to Gregorius.
[to top of second column]
Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius (18) celebrates with first baseman
Ike Davis (24) after hitting a three-run home run in the seventh
inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory
Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
"It's been amazing, watching him come over here and kind of in a
tough spot, taking over for (Jeter)," Sabathia said. "He's played
fantastic defense and his bat has really woken up. That was a huge
hit for us tonight."
Gibson was charged with the loss, allowing three runs on six hits
and two walks with four strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings pitched.
"It felt like I was in control most of the game and executing
pitches really well," Gibson said. "Then both those innings, threw a
few too many non-competitive pitches in those at-bats and didn't
attack well enough."
The Twins threatened early against Sabathia, advancing a runner into
scoring position in each of the first two innings. In the second,
Minnesota had runners on second and third with one out, but the
crafty left-hander got Byron Buxton to strike out and retired Robbie
Grossman on a lineout with the bases loaded to end the threat.
The Twins took a 1-0 lead in the fourth.
Max Kepler doubled down the right-field line with one out and
advanced to third on Kurt Suzuki's infield single. Two batters
later, Eduardo Nunez singled through the right side for a 1-0 lead.
NOTES: Twins LHP Glen Perkins will undergo season-ending surgery on
the labrum in his throwing shoulder. Perkins, who hasn't pitched
since April 10 and has played in just two games this season, will
likely be back in time for next season. ... Yankees OF Carlos
Beltran was back in the starting lineup after missing the last two
games with a sore left knee. Beltran played right field and batted
third. ... Twins OF Danny Santana will be activated off the 15-day
disabled list after completing a rehabilitation assignment with
Triple-A Rochester. Santana has been out since May 30 with a
strained left hamstring. ... New York and Minnesota will play the
second contest of the four-game series Friday night at Target Field.
The Yankees will send right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (3-2, 3.08 ERA)
to the mound against Twins' left-hander Pat Dean (1-2, 4.17 ERA).
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