The Yankees turned in an awful week last week in our MLB The Show simulation, losing five of six games as their hold on the AL East lead dwindled. This week, the Bombers were able to trend back in the right direction, going 4-2 and closing the week with two straight wins against a tough Twins team.
After a day off to start the week, the Yankees went out to Pittsburgh and split two games with the Pirates, both close one-run contests. In the series opener, the Yankees trailed by one heading into the top of the eighth before erupting for three runs and ultimately hanging on for a 6-5 victory. The big blow was a three-run bomb by Gary Sanchez in the top of the eighth, which proved to be the game-winner. Aaron Hicks went yard, and Aaron Judge blasted two solo homers for the Yankees, who scored all six of their runs via the long ball.
Aroldis Chapman ran into trouble in the ninth, but Tommy Kahnle came on to finish the job and get the Yanks a much-needed win.
That victory proved even more important after dropping the series finale, losing 5-4 thanks to a two-run bottom of the eighth by Pittsburgh. Gleyber Torres hit a three-run home run in the third to help the Yankees build an early 4-1 lead, but the Pirates chipped away and eventually broke out against Zack Britton, who allowed two runs on three hits in the eighth to spoil a quality start from Masahiro Tanaka.
The Yankees continued their road trip in Minnesota the following day, and began the four-game set with a 6-3 win. Once again, Sanchez provied the big blow, a grand slam in the top of the second to give the Yankees a 4-0 lead, and Torres padded that with a two-run blast in the sixth. Jordan Montgomery tried to finish the complete game shutout, but allowed a run in the ninth before Aaron Boone brought in Britton to try and solve his woes while nursing a comfortable lead. Instead, Britton allowed another two runs, and Chapman had to come on to pick up the save.
The Yankees kept looking for the big knock in game two, ripping 11 hits off of Jake Odorizzi over 6.1 innings, but could never get a run across while the Twins pounded out seven runs in the seventh to pick up a 9-0 win. Gerrit Cole turned in a quality outing before Adam Ottavino and J.A. Happ were rocked by the Bomba Squad, as Nelson Cruz, Josh Donaldson and Max Kepler all went deep.
The Yankees redeemed themselves in game three with a 4-3 win, erasing a 2-0 deficit after Eddie Rosario’s two-run homer gave the Twins an early lead. That was the lone hiccup for Luis Severino (back from his lat injury on time!), who settled in while Torres, Brett Gardner and DJ LeMahieu all hit homers to put the Yankees in position to win the series.
They finished the job in game four, pounding out eight runs on homers by Gio Urshela and Giancarlo Stanton, the latter a three-run blast to open up an 8-0 lead, which turned into an 8-6 win. Paxton was left in an inning too long, carrying a shutout into the sixth before allowing three runs, and Jonathan Holder tired in the ninth, allowing three runs himself before securing the final out to give the Yankees a big series win
The Yankees are now hanging on to a two-game lead in the division over the surging Red Sox. They’ll have a chance to pad that lead in the weeks to come, which will feature two series against the lowly Orioles, who have lost nine in a row.