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Defense, pitching lead Yankees past the Twins in series-clinching victory

The Bombers are headed to the ALCS!

MLB: ALDS-New York Yankees at Minnesota Twins David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

In Game Three of the ALDS, the Yankees defeated the Twins by a score of 5-1, sweeping them in three games and moving on to the ALCS. The Yankees got great performances from Gleyber Torres, who went three-for-four with an RBI, and from Didi Gregorius who went two-for-four with two RBI. It was the Yankees gutsy pitching a defense, however, that kept the high-powered Twins offense to only one run in this game.

After a scoreless first, Gleyber Torres opened the scoring with a solo home run off of Twins starter Jake Odorizzi. There was some controversy as to whether or not a fan interfered, but upon review, the crew chief confirmed the home run.

Luis Severino did not have a fantastic start to the game, as he could not locate any of his pitches, and the Twins threatened in the bottom of the second inning. After a double, a walk, and a single, the bases were loaded with no outs. Severino then flipped a switch and got Miguel Sano to pop out for the first out, and followed that up by striking out the next two batters to escape the jam.

Not that Severino needed anymore confidence after that second-inning Houdini act, but the Yankees tacked on another run increasing their lead to 2-0. The run came thanks to a leadoff double from Gio Urshela and an opposite field ground ball single from Brett Gardner in the top of the third.

Severino ran into more trouble in the bottom of the third, giving up hits to Jorge Polanco and Eddie Rosario, but yet again stranded two more runners on base escaping the inning unscathed. Severino ended his outing with a 1-2-3 inning, totaling throwing four scoreless frames on four hits and four strikeouts. Severino showed glimpses of a good fastball and slider, but neither were 100%. Yet he still battled through and put the Yankees in a great position to win. If any Yankees fan were told they’d get four scoreless innings from Severino, they’d probably take it.

Boone then turned the game over to the bullpen and deployed Tommy Kahnle, Adam Ottavino and Chad Green all in the same inning. After two runners got on, Green got out of a jam thanks to a fantastic sliding play from Torres and recovery from DJ LeMahieu.

The following inning the Twins threatened again, but a tremendous leaping grab from Aaron Judge on a hard-zhit ball off the bat of Miguel Sano saved a run from scoring. After several continuous innings of threats the Yankees increased their lead to three in the top half of the seventh inning off a double and single from Torres and Didi Gregorius.

In the bottom of the eighth, Zack Britton gave up a leadoff home run to Eddie Rosario making the score 3-1 and injecting life into Target Field. Britton, however, exited the game due to an ankle injury and the pitching change promptly took the life out of the Twins fans as Aroldis Chapman got the next two batters to pop up and strike out.

The Yankees offense continued to put the pressure on adding two more insurance runs on a solo homer from Cameron Maybin (pinch-hitting for Giancarlo Stanton) and an RBI single from Gregorius who drove in Torres from third.

Entering the game in the eighth, Chapman was being asked to record his first multi-inning save all year in replacement of Britton.

The Twins mad it interesting in the bottom of the ninth, however, putting their first two batters on base with no outs. Even with a walk in the ninth, Chapman stayed in control and retired the last three batters in order on two strikeouts and a line-out.

Big defensive plays scattered throughout the game, such as a double-play with the bases loaded, a sliding grab and put out from Torres and LeMahieu, and a leaping grab by Judge kept the Twins’ high-powered offense to only one run.

The Yankees now move on to the ALCS for the second time in three years to face the winner of the other ALDS matchup between the Rays and the Astros.

The ALCS will begin this Saturday October 12 and will be aired on either FOX or FS1. So take a few mental days off Yankees fans, you’ve earned it as the Bombers advance!