A four game series against the Minnesota Twins couldn't have come at a better time for the New York Yankees. They came into this series having lost five straight and dropped to fourth in the AL East, and in desperate need of some confidence. For this series at least, they have looked like the team that we saw early in the season. CC Sabathia pitched seven strong innings and Robinson Cano continued his recent offensive explosion as the Yankees won their third consecutive game at Target Field.
Sabathia was not at his best early on tonight, as he was struggling with command and working into deep counts. The Twins got on the board in the bottom of the third after a walk to Brian Dozier and an RBI double by Joe Mauer. Ryan Doumit then hit a routine ground ball to short, where the newest Yankee shortstop Luis Cruz proceeded to throw the ball about ten feet over Lyle Overbay's head at first base. This allowed Mauer to move to third. Sabathia managed to retire the next three hitters, striking out two to work out of further trouble.
Trevor Plouffe homered to center in the fifth off CC to make it 2-0 Twins, but that was all the offense the Twins would get off Sabathia the rest of the night. CC got through seven innings on 121 pitches, scattering seven hits and three walks while striking out nine. It was not pretty the whole game, but he improved as the game went on and the end result was a very respectable seven inning performance.
Offensively, the Yankees looked every bit as inept as they've been for the last two months through the first five innings. Robinson Cano was the only Yankee to record a base hit off of Minnesota starter P.J. Walters, who came into this game with a 6.03 ERA.
Fortunately for them, they were able to get it going off Walters the third time around the order in the sixth. Brett Gardner walked to start the inning and moved to third on a double by Ichiro Suzuki. Ron Gardenhire then opted to pitch to Robinson Cano with first base open, and Cano made them pay by ripping a game tying double into the right field corner. Cano moved to third on a single by Travis Hafner, and that was the end of the night for P.J. Walters. Caleb Thielbar came in and struck out Zoilo Almonte before allowing a sac fly to Lyle Overbay to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead.
The Yankees would not get a baserunner for the rest of the game, but the three runs in the sixth ended up being enough. David Robertson relieved Sabathia to pitch a clean eighth and Mariano Rivera closed it down in the ninth for the 3-2 win.
- Tonight was the 200th career win for CC Sabathia. While wins is not by any stretch the best measure of a pitcher's success, achieving the milestone at a relatively young age is still a nice accomplishment. Congrats to CC. Hoping for 100 more...
- The Yankees signed a guy named Luis Cruz before the game due to a hamstring injury to Jayson Nix. He made the start at shortstop tonight, becoming the fifth Yankee to start at shortstop this year. None of them have been named Derek Jeter. Cruz was 0-3 tonight (though he did have a well hit flyout!). As mentioned above, he also airmailed a routine throw on defense. What a champ.
- Robinson Cano has recently been destroying any baseball he sees in the strike zone, and that didn't change tonight. He went 2-3 tonight and has 14 hits and four home runs in his last five games.
The Yankees will look to sweep the Twins tomorrow afternoon as David Phelps tries to rebound from his last horrid start in Baltimore. First pitch 2:10 Eastern. Hope everyone enjoys their Fourth of July.