While the Yankees had already fought back in the inning, it seemed like another walk-off opportunity was going to pass them by in the 12th inning. After a ridiculously dumb game that had seen them struggle against Twins rookie Louie Varland in his MLB debut, they had rallied, but failed to seize their chances at walk-off wins in several different innings.
After Oswald Peraza failed to add his three-hit day, the 12th was left up to former Triple-A Scranton teammate Oswaldo Cabrera, who had been in a terrible slump of late: 0-for-25. Sure, his defensive chops had been impressive, as he demonstrated earlier in this game, but he looked at bit lost at the plate. Plus, considering how the rest of this game had gone, it would be understandable to assume that this game was headed for a 13th inning.
Instead, Cabrera managed to squeak through a single, giving the Yankees a wild 5-4 walk-off win over the Twins.
The Twins got off to a fast start, quickly scoring off Germán. On the first very pitch of the game, Luis Arraez laced a double to center. While Germán then got the next out, he then allowed a home run to Jose Miranda that just curved around the foul pole in left to give the Twins the early lead.
After the Yankees wasted Peraza’s first career hit in the third (a double), the Twins added another run in the fourth in a very annoying sequence. After two quick outs, the inning was kept alive after a ball back up the middle hit off Germán and settled safely for a Jake Cave single. Gary Sánchez then hit a popup that probably should’ve led to the last out of the inning, but center fielder Estevan Florial seemed to misread it off that bat, and the ball dropped in just in front of him. The inning still had life, and that led to Minnesota’s third run when Gilberto Celestino added another single.
The Yankees would then get on the board in the bottom of the fourth, courtesy of the exact source that any fan would expect. Aaron Judge led off the frame with a home run, his 55th of the season.
With the blast, Judge became the Yankees’ single-season leader for homers by a right-handed hitter, topping Alex Rodriguez’s 2007 total of 54. It also surpassed another of Judge’s 2016 teammates, Mark Teixeira, for the most long balls in the 13-year history of new Yankee Stadium (114).
Peraza recorded his second career hit in the sixth inning when he led off the frame with a single. While Varland stayed in for one more batter (who he retired), that hit would lead to the end of his debut with Judge on the horizon. Reliever Griffin Jax came in and actually did the job against Judge, getting him to pop up. However, for once, the damage would come from someone else in the lineup. Gleyber Torres came through with a pivotal two-run home run, tying things up.
It was only Torres’ third dinger since the start of August, but it was at least a prime opportunity to deliver. The Yankees probably wouldn’t have made it to extras without it.
Wandy Peralta came in for the seventh, ending Germán’s day. In his six innings, Germán allowed three runs on seven hits and one walk, striking out six. He mostly settled down after the first inning, discounting the run in the fourth, which was only partially his fault.
Peralta threw a scoreless frame, and would be replaced by Jonathan Loáisiga for the eighth. Although he retired the first batter of the inning, things then got iffy when Minnesota picked up back-to-back singles. The Yankees then got one out and narrowly missed one of the more impressive double plays you’ll see, but Minnesota was 90 feet away from retaking the lead. Nonetheless, Loáisiga went on to fan pinch-hitter Max Kepler on three pitches to get out of the jam.
In the bottom of the eighth, Peraza picked up a third hit on the day, but the Yankees failed to take advantage, especially after the Twins intentionally walked Judge. Clay Holmes followed that with a 1-2-3 inning that included a couple nice defensive plays, including one by Peraza.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Yankees had a chance at a walk-off. Even before the big chance, Miguel Andújar reached on an error, only for Tim Locastro to be thrown out after he overslid while trying to steal second. But down to the last out of the inning, Isiah Kiner-Falefa reached on a single. He then got to third after he stole second and advanced another base on a throwing error. Florial hit a grounder that very nearly snuck through the infield, but an impressive play by Carlos Correa on a grounder allowed Minnesota to escape by just getting Florial out at first.
It seemed like the top of the 10th was going to start very badly when Arraez singled to right. However, what happened next was fairly humorous. The extra innings automatic runner, Celestino, seemed to hesitate upon rounding third and was easily thrown out by Oswaldo Cabrera.
It was Cabrera’s fifth outfield assist of the year, which is fairly remarkable considering his lack of experience in right field before getting called up.
The Yankees failed to win the game in the 10th after suffering a bit of bad luck when the umpires did not move Florial on what was arguably a balk. The long afternoon rolled on with Ron Marinacco in for the 11th, and the right-hander threw a fairly simple inning.
The home half of the 11th would feature one of the more infuriating sequences of these recent Yankees’ struggles. With Michael Fulmer on the mound, the Yankees were able to load the bases thanks to both an intentional and unintentional walk to Judge and Torres respectively. With still nobody out in the inning, Ronald Guzmán, 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in his Yankee debut to that point, grounded into a double play. To make matters worse, he appeared to be somewhat ducking out of the way of the throw to first after the Twins had gotten the out at home.
It was not a matinee that Guzmán will fondly remember. Pinch-hitter Marwin Gonzalez came up short, and the game continued.
In the 12th, the Twins’ finally took advantage of one of their extra-inning chances, as Celestino singled home a run. Marinaccio would then have to be removed after walking the bases loaded. Fellow rookie Greg Weissert came in and got out of the jam with some big outs against Correa and Miranda, but the Yankees now needed to rally.
That rally got off to the perfect start when Kiner-Falefa singled to tie things up. After IKF stole second and Florial went down on strikes, Jose Trevino managed to drop a single into shallow right field. It wasn’t deep enough to score the runner and, to make matters worse, Trevino got strayed too far off first and was on the verge of being tagged out. Kiner-Falefa then also went a little too far off the bag and induced a throw over to third. Thankfully, he managed to evade the tag, with both runners ending up safe. Peraza couldn’t add to his dream day, leaving the inning up to Cabrera.
The 23-year-old rookie finally ended his long slump, poking through a single to win the game.
Just like that, the Yankees have a three-game winning streak, and their AL East lead is back up to a full five games (for now, anyway).
The good news — if you consider it that — is that there’s still another game to come today! The first pitch will be at 7:55pm ET with Gerrit Cole toeing the slab against Joe Ryan.