This ended up being a pretty bizarre and horrifying game for the Yankees as things started off well then took a very bad turn. The offense got started early with a strong first inning that included a Jacoby Ellsbury single, Alex Rodriguez walk, and a Brian McCann three-run home run to push the team's total of first-inning runs to 99 on the year. Unfortunately, the game came to a screeching halt in the second inning when Bryan Mitchell was struck in the face by an Eduardo Nunez line drive. He allowed a run on the play, but more importantly, was able to leave the field under his own power even as his face bled into a towel. To put this into perspective:
The mound is 60 feet, six inches from home plate. Ball left Nunez's bat at 103 mph. Bryan Mitchell had less than 1/2 second to react. Scary.— Alejandro Zúñiga (@ByAZuniga) August 18, 2015
He was sent to the hospital for further testing and was diagnosed with a small nasal fracture. He will also be monitored for concussion symptoms.
After that scary scene, Caleb Cotham came into the game and ended the threat with a strikeout. He returned for the third inning and allowed three hits, culminating in a two-run home run from Miguel Sano to make it a tie game. Trevor Plouffe then singled and Didi Gregorius committed an error on what could have been an inning-ending double play when he tried to flip the ball out of his glove to Stephen Drew, but ended up flinging it away. Eddie Rosario then singled to right field on a ball that looked like an easy catch, but somehow Carlos Beltran ended up short-hopping it and suddenly the Yankees were losing.
The offense made their first comeback of the night as Ellsbury singled and Brett Gardner walked. Brian McCann then singled to knock in two runs and take back the lead 5-4. Unfortunately, Cotham wasn't able to hold it for long and the Twins struck back on an Aaron Hicks home run to tie the game again. In the end, Cotham allowed three earned runs on six hits over 2.0 innings. Chasen Shreve pitched the fifth inning and immediately allowed a home run to Trevor Plouffe and surrendered the lead, allowing two hits and a walk with three strikeouts in 1.1 innings. Justin Wilson pitched the sixth, striking out three batters, but also serving up three singles in a row to make it 7-5 in favor of the Twins.
The game took another weird turn when Mark Teixeira fouled a ball off his leg in the sixth. He took a long time to get back in the box, and when he finally walked, the Yankees pinch ran Greg Bird in his place. Tex underwent precautionary testing and X-rays were negative. It was looking like one of those ugly loses, but then Carlos Beltran came to life and hit a two-run home run to tie the game at 7-7. The Yankees were able to load the bases in the seventh when Ellsbury and Gardner singled and Bird walked, but McCann popped up and Beltran struck out to leave the game tied heading into the eighth.
As the game continued, it became painfully obvious that the Yankees were running out of pitchers in the bullpen. For some reason. Adam Warren only threw 0.2 innings before Joe Girardi yanked him in favor of Dellin Betances. While Dellin is Dellin, Warren was once a trusted member of the backend of the bullpen, but you wouldn't be able to tell based on how he's been used lately. Dellin pitched 2.1 innings, allowing one hit and striking out three to take the Yankees through the ninth. In the 10th, as the last man in the bullpen, Miller struck out two and got the Yankees through the inning.
In the bottom of the 10th, Greg Bird led off the frame with a double. McCann then hit a long fly ball to center that deflected off the glove of Aaron Hicks. Because it looked like he had a good read on the ball, Bird couldn't get much of a jump, but the Yankees had second and third with no outs. The Twins decided to walk Beltran in order to get the force at any base with Chase Headley up. The Yankees' King of Walk-offs did it again when he hit a slow ground ball to Eduardo Nunez, who booted the ball and then bizarrely decided to throw to first, as if there were two outs. The run scored, the game was over, the Yankees won, but it turned out to be an anti-climactic victory after Nunez did some weird Nunez things.
Eduardo Nunez avoided an "error" on that play by throwing to first base and getting a meaningless out as the winning run scored. Congrats.— Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman) August 18, 2015
After the losses suffered and the bullpen completely melted, the Yankees needed this win. Ellbury finished the night with three hits and McCann had three hits, five RBI, and threw out three runners on top of that. By tomorrow we should have two new pitchers up with the big league club as they are sure to place Mitchell on the disabled list and send Cotham packing. Don't be surprised if you see Chris Capuano back again, though he still has to pass through waivers unclaimed. We can worry about all the gory details later, at least the Yankees got an extra-innings walk-off win.