It didn’t look good for the Yankees early. Despite most Baby Bombers being in diapers when Bartolo Colon made his MLB debut, Big Sexy actually came out dealing in the first. Bartolo got Brett Gardner, Gary Sanchez, and Aaron Judge out in order. Then Luis Cessa happened.
Cessa got off to a rocky start. He walked Brian Dozier to lead off the inning and then immediately walked Zack Granite on four pitches. An overturned double play put runners on the corners with one out. Then he hit slugger Miguel Sano in the hand with a fastball to load the bases.
Max Kepler gave the Yankees a nice break with a pop out in foul territory, but that warm, fuzzy feeling went away as Cessa walked Robbie Grossman to put the Twins up 1-0. Walking in runs is never fun. He managed to get out of the first with limited damage but looked very sloppy, throwing 20 of 32 pitches out of the strike zone.
As Colon continued to deal into the third, it was more of the same for the Yankees as Cessa struggled to hit his spots. Sano made him pay for a mistake, putting a solo shot deep into left center, making it 2-0 Twins. Kepler followed that up with a double over Judge’s head, but the inning came to an end on a pair of nice plays by Garrett Cooper at first.
The bats started to come alive for New York in the fourth. A pair of singles from Judge and Didi Gregorius set up Chase Headley to knock in a run with a single up the middle, making it 2-1 Minnesota. The Yankees have fallen victim to a number of good defensive plays in the last few games, and that didn’t stop here. A diving catch from Kepler and a nice scoop by Dozier on a hard hit ball by Clint Frazier halted the Yankees from breaking out in the inning.
The twins got one back in the bottom of the fourth. A rope down the first base line put Jason Castro on second, though another great throw by Judge almost nabbed him. Dozier then hit a deep shot off the very top of the tall fence in right, legging it into an easy RBI triple, putting the Twins up 3-1.
That would do it for Cessa who ended his night going 3.1 inning and giving up three runs on four hits, four walks, a hit batter, and only two strikeouts. He managed to keep the damage minimal, although he struggled to find his command and threw a lot of pitches. Not exactly a great night for the right-hander.
The fifth inning is where the Yankees offense broke through. A Ronald Torreyes single and a Gardner ground-rule double were followed by a two-run double by Sanchez to tie it up at three, taking Colon out of the game. All-in-all it was an okay night for Bart, who gave up four runs on eight hits over four innings. He by no means had Cy Young stuff out there, but managed to keep the Yankees at bay for most of the game before getting knocked around in the fifth. Colon was relieved by Ryan Pressly who gave up an RBI single to Judge and a huge two-run homer to Didi to put the Yankees up 6-3.
From there, the Yankees bullpen carried it through to the end. We saw strong performances from Chasen Shreve, Dellin Betances, and Aroldis Chapman, but the real story of the night was a dazzling outing from Adam Warren. Warren showed excellent command as he made quick work of all six batters he faced, even as a plague of moths descended upon Minneapolis, making it look like the game was being played in a blizzard.
The Yankees were able to generate some much-needed offense tonight and though they left a few runners in scoring position, the takeaways from the game are very positive. Torreyes and Didi put up three hits a piece, while Judge, Sanchez, and Gardner each had two. A couple of nice defensive stops from Minnesota held the Bombers to six runs, but this game could have easily been more lopsided.
Tune in tomorrow afternoon as the Yankees try to take the series against the Twins. The game is set for 1:10 PM EST and can be viewed on YES.