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Yankees 7, Twins 5: Closer than it should have been, still counts

An early lead provided a much-needed cushion in the series-opening win, the team’s seventh in a row.

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

There is a version of this recap, in another universe, where the Yankees piled on after their 6-0 lead, pulled away, and it was a laugher. But that is not this universe, because in this universe, the Yankees allowed the Twins to get back into it, although the end result counts the same as ever, with New York winning their seventh straight, 7-4.

There have been a few nicknames for tonight, whether you prefer the Death Star lineup, the Goal Line package, or whatever Twitter’s come up with since then. The Yankees stacked up a truly impressive top of the lineup, which of course means the Nos. 7-9 hitters were the first ones to plate any runs. Andrew Velazquez (who is from the Bronx) led off the third with a triple, and was brought home on Kyle Higashioka’s RBI double.

Tyler Wade walked, but of course, you couldn’t hold off the top of this lineup for long:

Much has been made of the sibling rivalry between Luke Voit and Anthony Rizzo. The Yankees are proving that they can fit them both into a lineup, and as if to drive that point home further, Rizzo brought Voit in with a sac fly to push the lead up to 4-0. Keep trying to top one another, boys.

Higashioka, who had already doubled in a run, scored one, and thrown out a runner on the bases, kept up his starring role in tonight’s show in the fourth inning:

Jameson Taillon, meanwhile, was excellent for five innings. He allowed just one hit while striking out five, and his fastball in particular was very effective:

Being able to locate the heater up above the letters and still get strikes — particularly swings and misses — is a huge part of Taillon’s game. When paired with a good 12-6 curveball, he becomes a very dangerous pitcher:

You run into this issue with pitchers sometimes. He was so good through five, and you had a big lead; do you send him back out to face the lineup a third time, or take what you got and go to the bullpen? Aaron Boone went with the former, and Taillon was smacked around in the sixth.

Jake Cave took him deep for a home run, and the Twins strung together three more hits in succession, including two doubles. Suddenly it was 6-3, and Taillon’s day was over. The Third Time Through penalty is universal for a reason, and it moved Jameson’s outing from “stellar” to “acceptable.”

Wandy Peralta was asked to get two outs with two men on, and he did so on just seven pitches before working a sparkling seventh, throwing 14 pitches and getting three more outs. Since returning from the COVID-IL in the first week of August, Peralta’s thrown 10.1 innings over eight appearances, allowing a single run with a 7:1 K:BB ratio. He doesn’t boast the gas of other guys in the bullpen, but as the Yankees have engineered this August comeback, he’s played an underrated role.

Zack Britton allowed another run in the eighth, giving the Yankees just a two-run cushion while Chad Green warmed up to close out the game. Giancarlo Stanton was kind enough to afford him a little insurance ahead of the save:

That home run would loom large in the ninth, after Miguel Sanó took Green deep to left field and restoring the two-run deficit. In fact, I know you won’t believe this, the home run came on a curveball that sat middle-middle. (I know, right! Who would have thought.) To Green’s credit, he shook the dinger off to fan the Twins’ final two batters, securing the win.

The Yankees seem allergic to winning the easy games, and this one should have been easy. Still, they all count the same, and the team ends the day in the same place they started — holding the first Wild Card spot. They remain a game ahead of Oakland (who beat the White Sox) and gained half a game on idle Boston.

New York has now won seven in a row, their longest streak of the season, and will send Nasty Nestor Cortes Jr. to the hill tomorrow to make it an even eight. That game starts up at 7:05pm ET.

Box Score