The Yankees did not play a crisp game by any stretch of the imagination, but facing a team such as the Twins allows some unusual breathing room. CC Sabathia turned in a great performance and Didi Gregorius' clutch three-run home run was enough to snap the four-game losing streak and kick off the series in Minnesota on a high note.
Like he has so often this season, Sabathia looked like one of the best pitchers in the Yankees' rotation. He allowed just one run in six innings after allowing six hits and three walks. He struck out seven batters. Sabathia's ERA since the beginning of May is an MLB-low 0.82. From there, Joe Girardi was able to turn the game over to the three-headed monster in the bullpen. Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, and Aroldis Chapman each pitched a scoreless inning, and only Betances allowed a runner to reach base.
Minnesota was able to strike first when Eduardo Nunez drove home Max Kepler with a single in the fourth inning. The Yankees tied the score in the sixth on a Jacoby Ellsbury single that scored Gregorius and should have also driven in Chase Headley. Third base coach Joe Espada inexplicably held Headley at third with no outs, even though the Twins didn't even throw home on the play. A pop out by Brett Gardner and a double play by Carlos Beltran ended the inning without that go-ahead run scoring. It didn't matter in the end, but it could have been a huge mistake for a team struggling to score runs.
Gregorius' home run was a huge hit for a team that had been shut down by Kyle Gibson nearly all night. Allowing struggling pitchers to shut them down has certainly been a concerning trend this season, and tonight was no exception to that. In addition to Gregorius, Alex Rodriguez and Headley were each able to record two hits in the game. The team left only two men on base all game.
In addition to the base running error, there were a few other moments of sloppiness in the game. Gardner attempted a bunt with two strikes and it went foul. There's pretty much no reason he should be doing that with two strikes instead of swinging away once the count gets to that point. He also committed an error in the field. Not a banner game for the Yankee left fielder.
The Yankees will try to make it two in a row tomorrow when they send Masahiro Tanaka to the mound against Pat Dean. New York faces only the Rockies and Twins this week and next week, so they'll need to make up some ground against lackluster teams if they have any hope of digging themselves out of sub-.500 hole they find themselves in.