The Yankees pieced together a pitching performance that was more than good enough with the offense they received Tuesday night in a win over the Twins. CC Sabathia didn't allow a baserunner until the fifth inning, but hung around just long enough to give up four runs anyway. Alex Rodriguez bailed out Sabathia with a huge slump-busting grand slam that put the Yankees on top for good.
Greg Bird put the Yankees on the board first in the fourth inning with an RBI single to drive home Carlos Beltran. The rookie had two hits on the night in place of the injured Mark Teixeira. That was the only run the Yankees could scrape together until Rodriguez deposited an offering from J.R. Graham into the bullpen for a grand slam in the seventh inning. Chase Headley would help tack on some insurance for breathing room in the eighth by driving home Bird and Didi Gregorius with a double. He came around to score on a single by Jacoby Ellsbury for the final 8-4 score.
Sabathia was in control for most of his outing, having only given up one run on a Kurt Suzuki double until things unraveled a bit in the seventh. Miguel Sano homered to score Joe Mauer that put the Twins on top for the first time in the game, and Shane Robinson extended their lead with a single that plated Eduardo Escobar. The bullpen was understandably depleted after having to get so many outs following Bryan Mitchell's injury on Monday, but Nick Rumbelow and Justin Wilson were able to come on and get one out and two outs, respectively, so that Joe Girardi could turn the ball over to Andrew Miller for four outs. Miller looked fantastic closing out the game, which is a welcome departure from the shakiness we've seen at times since his return from the disabled list.
The offense was able to get contributions up and down the lineup with Ellsbury, Beltran, Bird, and pinch-hitter Headley all getting two hits in the game. Ellsbury also managed to steal his first base since May, hopefully signaling a sign of things to come. It's hard to overstate the importance of Bird with the status of Teixeira's injury still up in the air. He has not looked overmatched at all since being called up, and even turned a nifty double play in the field. If the Yankees have to lose their best hitter for any length of time, it's a huge comfort that they can turn to a legitimate prospect to fill the gap instead of resorting to dumpster diving in the trash heap like in previous seasons.
Nathan Eovaldi gets the start tomorrow as the Yankees look for the sweep in an afternoon game. Ervin Santana will get the start for Minnesota.