Following a pair of disappointing outings, Masahiro Tanaka returned to ace form on David Wells Bobblehead Night. Miguel Andujar, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Tyler Austin, and Didi Gregorius powered the Bombers to a 14-1 victory over Minnesota at Yankee Stadium. Gleyber Torres got his first major league hit as the Yankees pushed their winning streak to a season-high three games.
Twenty years ago, David Wells retired all 27 Minnesota batters he faced to record just the second perfect game in Yankees history. Tanaka wasn’t perfect tonight, but he was pretty darn good. The veteran threw 6.2 innings of three-hit, one-run ball to earn his third win of the season.
Tanaka walked the first batter he faced, losing Brian Dozier on a 3-2 pitch. Dozier was sacrificed to second by Joe Mauer, but was subsequently left stranded as Tanaka induced the next two batters to hit easy ground-ball outs. Max Kepler managed a two-out double off Tanaka in the second, but he was left stranded as well.
The Yankees right-hander then cruised through a pair of hitless innings before getting into trouble in the fifth. With two outs, Tanaka hit Ryan LaMarre with a pitch. He moved to second on a single by Ryan Castro and scored on a Dozier hit. Tanaka got Mauer to fly out, stranding the two base runners and limiting the Twins to one run.
The Yankees got on the board immediately in the home half of the first inning. Brett Gardner drew a four-pitch walk and promptly stole second. Stanton also walked, following strikeouts by Aaron Judge and Gregorius. Sanchez came through with the big two-out hit, a line-drive double off the left-center field fence which scored both Gardner and Stanton. Aaron Hicks then plated Sanchez on a single to right to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead.
Andujar led off the Yankees’ half of the second with a line-drive homer inside the left-field foul pole. Andujar’s third home run of the year gave the Yankees a 4-0 lead. With the blast, he became only the third Yankee age 23 or under since 1920 to get extra-base hits in seven straight games. The Yankees third baseman finds himself in elite company, with the other two being Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle.
Stanton also blasted a towering home run deep into the left-field bleachers to give the Yankees a 5-1 lead in the fifth. He went 4-for-4 with a walk in five plate appearances on the night. His RBI single in the seventh gave New York a five-run advantage.
The Bombers did a great job getting to Minnesota starter Jake Odorizzi early and often tonight. Yankee hitters worked deep counts and drove Odorizzi from the game following Stanton’s bomb with two outs in the fifth inning and his pitch count at 106.
New York kept adding on against Minnesota’s beleaguered bullpen. Judge doubled to lead off the seventh and scored on Stanton’s single. With two outs, Hicks walked and Austin doubled them both home to give the Yankees an 8-1 lead.
Gleyber Torres came to the plate in the eighth inning having gone 0-for-7 to begin his big-league career. The 21-year-old blooped a clean single over second base on a 1-2 count for his first major league hit.
Following Gleyber’s knock, Gardner and Judge walked, which set the stage for Didi’s big blast. Facing Twins reliever Tyler Kinney, Gregorius crushed the first pitch into the right-center field seats for his second career grand slam. It was Didi’s seventh home run of the year and MLB-leading 24th RBI.
Center fielder Jason LaMarre came in to pitch for the Twins, allowing a two-run dinger to Austin. The Yankees plated six runs in the eighth inning to complete the scoring. The Bombers tallied 13 hits and seven walks in the 14-run onslaught tonight.
The Yankees look to extend their winning streak to four games tomorrow night in the second bout of this four-game series against Minnesota. CC Sabathia (0-0, 2.70 ERA) squares off against 23-year-old right-hander Jose Berrios (2-1, 1.63 ERA). The Yankees veteran southpaw is still looking for his first win of the 2018 campaign. Be sure to join us tomorrow, this should be a good one. First pitch is 6:35 PM EDT.