MINNEAPOLIS – Most of the highlights for the Minnesota Twins in this remarkable season were home runs that put them on their toes to break the Major League record.
This mark currently belongs to the New York Yankees, who watched the twins cut the mark off Monday night with a powerful start to the series between the heads of the AL divisions.
Mitch Garver hit two of five home runs of the Twins, who after a leading triple play in the first inning, clinched an 8-6 victory over the Yankees.
“These are the teams you have to play at the end of the season if you want to hold up the trophy,” said Garver, who has 19 homers in only 181 battles. “These are the games that are really good for us because we’re playing against the top group.”
Jorge Polanco, Nelson Cruz and Max Kepler also went deep and gave the twins their eighth game with five or more homers this season. With the exception of Garver’s second solo shot, starter CC Sabathia (5-5) came into play, taking only four innings.
“Just like our line-up, it’s a difficult line-up,” Sabathia said, “so you have to be sharp and I don’t.”
Martín Pérez was hit just as hard when he gave Gio Urshela the home advantage in the third run, Luke Voit the fourth and AL batting leader DJ LeMahieu the home advantage in the fifth, reducing the deficit to 7-5.
Nine of the last 13 battles against Pérez came with 14 bases, and he left after failing to find a way out in the fifth. LeMahieu went 3 for 4 to increase his average shot to .338, and the Yankees beat several Homers for the 20th time in 29 games.
So the deciding factor was these sharp floorers, starting with Edwin Encarnación after successive walks by LeMahieu and Aaron Judge. The ball went directly to the third baseman Luis Arraez, who stepped on the bag and sent the ball sent to the second baseman Jonathan Schoop in the same movement to get hardly judges. Schoop’s razor-sharp squadron to the first baseman Miguel Sanó beat Encarnación in one blow.
“You have to give Arraez all the credit because he just threw me perfectly,” Schoop said.
Gary Sánchez built on an inner doubles game in the third game. The judge did the same in the sixth game against newcomer Lewis Thorpe (1-1), who scored his first Major League victory with 2-2-3 goalless innings.
Taylor Rogers got his 15th shot, although he allowed singles for Richter and Encarnación.
“We could have easily gone into double figures tonight,” said Yankee manager Aaron Boone. “They played a few games when they had to.”
After the twins had lost four of their first six games on this home game, with the pen blowing late leads several times, their long-time arch-enemy came at an inappropriate time. No opponent drives fan fear like the Yanks, who always have thousands of their own cheerleaders with them. But on a gorgeous 78-degree evening in front of 34,627 ticket buyers, the Twins have improved against the Yankees to only 37-98 since 2002, including a 2-13 record in the off-season.
MORE TO MASH
The twins only became the second team to score at least five home runs in eight games in the same season, joining the Boston Red Sox in 1977. Minnesota has 187 homers in 99 games, on pace to reach 306. The Yankees set the record with 267 home runs last year, and they are one of five teams on course this year to surpass that mark.
THREE IS AN AUDIENCE FAVORITE.
The twins’ triple play was the first in more than two years, as Sanó went on June 1, 2017 against the Los Angeles Angels to play the horn to Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer. Ever since they became the only team in history to shoot twice three times three times in the same game against the Red Sox in 1990, the twins have recorded only three Triple Play games. He met Encarnación, whose 16 homers on the finish line are the second most frequent of a visitor. He has 91 RBIs in 92 career games against the twins.
It also took the Yankees two years to get into a triple play. Todd Frazier was the last culprit on July 25, 2017 against Cincinnati.
Yankees: LF Brett Gardner was on the bench for the second straight game because of the inflammation in his left knee, and Boone said Gardner would be available in a pinch, but that he would prefer to give him more rest. … During a triple third inning for the twins, Gary Sanchez forced Sanchez to a run with a catchers interference flaw when Cruz swung and cut his glove with the loaded bases. The bat hit Sanchez on the side of the hand, but he stayed in the game.
Twins: Only five days after his reinstatement, 1B C.J. Cron returned to the injured list with an inflammation in his right thumb, an injury that had been holding him back for more than a month. CF Byron Buxton was suitable for activation, and manager Rocco Baldelli said that Buxton’s shock-like symptoms had disappeared, but the twins opted for caution and more time. Thorpe came from Triple-A Rochester instead, and RHP Cody Stashak came with him on the shuttle. RHP Zack Littell was sent down.