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Yankees take round one after putting up ten spot on the Twins

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DJ LeMahieu led the way as the Yankees’ offense kicked off the playoffs in style.

MLB: ALDS-Minnesota Twins at New York Yankees Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees and Twins came into this series as the two most prolific home run hitting teams ever, and they lived up to that tonight in Game One of the ALDS. The two teams combined to hit five homers, with Minnesota hitting three of them. However, the Yankees came out with the win, as their offense did plenty in addition to hitting homers in piling on the Twins’ pitching.

The Yankees showed incredible plate disciple, drawing eight walks. That, combined with some timely hitting by some of the usual suspects, allowed them to put up double digit runs, and take game one 10-4 over the Twins.

Despite the impressive final score, things actually started less than ideally for the Yankees. After starting the game with a strikeout, Paxton allowed a homer to the next batter he faced. Jorge Polanco did the damage to give the Twins an early lead. After the Yankees left runners on in the first and second, the Twins struck again in the third. Paxton got two quick outs, but another Twin then went deep. This time it was Nelson Cruz who homered, though it was just another solo shot.

In the bottom of the third, it was the Yankees’ turn, although not quite via the same method. DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge got things kicked off with two straight singles. Two batters after that, Edwin Encarnacion doubled, his second of the game, to score LeMahieu. After Giancarlo Stanton drew a walk, Gleyber Torres appeared to ground into an inning-ending double play. However after the Twins got the out at second, C.J. Cron couldn’t corral the throw to first, allowing not only Judge, but Encarnacion to come around and score, putting the Yankees in front.

Paxton threw a strong fourth and came back out for the fifth. He recorded one out, but gave up a double to Luis Arraez. He then struck out the next hitter and got within a strike of escaping the inning. Eddie Rosario then fouled off four of the next seven pitches before finally winning the battle and dropping in an RBI single to even things up.

That would be the end of Paxton’s day. He allowed three runs on five hits and one walk with eight strikeouts. Considering the opposition and what the Yankees had in the bullpen, it was far from the worst possible outing.

Adam Ottavino came in for him, but was removed after just one batter, Cruz, who walked. Tommy Kahnle came in for him and ended the inning on one pitch.

The tie game would not last very long. Former Yankee farmhand Zack Littell came in for Minnesota, and Aaron Judge started off the bottom of the fifth with a walk, after barely missing a home run a couple pitches earlier. Littell then hit Brett Gardner with a pitch and was removed from the game. Tyler Duffey came in and managed to strike out Encarnacion. On the other hand, he then walked Stanton to load the bases and bring Torres to the plate. Torres delivered, doubling down the line to score a pair of runs.

Miguel Sano answered back for the Twins by leading off the sixth with a home run, getting them back within a run. Kahnle then walked a batter before striking out Marwin Gonzalez. After that, Boone went right back to the bullpen and brought in Chad Green, who found his way to the last two outs of the inning.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Yankees finally did their part in the dinger battle. It was LeMahieu who did the deed, hitting a solo shot. That wouldn’t be the only one either, as Gardner followed a couple batters later with another solo homer.

Following a scoreless inning from Zack Britton, the Yankees well and truly broke things open in the seventh. Stanton, Torres, and Didi Gregorius loaded the bases with walks before the lineup flipped back around to LeMahieu. Just as he did so many times during the regular season, LeMahieu came through. His double scored all three runners, and the Yankees were suddenly up six.

With that comfortable cushion in hand, J.A. Happ was called on for the eighth. He put a couple runners on, but ended up throwing a scoreless frame. Aroldis Chapman then finished things off in the ninth to seal the win.

You couldn’t really ask for much more out this game for the Yankees. They got to show off their deep lineup and deep bullpen in fairly impressive fashion. Now we just need them to do that 10 more times.

Box score.