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Yankees 8, Twins 2: One bad inning

It’s too little, too late for the Minnesota bullpen, as a third-inning rally sinks the ship.

Divisional Series - Minnesota Twins v New York Yankees - Game Two Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

“All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy.”

That’s the perspective of Gotham City’s iconic supervillain, as relayed in “The Killing Joke,” one of the comic ethos’ more famous entries. (Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix, in theaters now.)

Similarly, one bad inning was all it took for the Yankees to emerge victorious this afternoon. On the back of a seven-run third inning, New York breezed their way to a late-Saturday win, and a 2-0 series advantage as the ALDS takes a pause to move back to the midwest.

Randy Dobnak had a short leash. The Yankees struck quickly, with a double and a walk to open the first, and an RBI single from Edwin Encarnacion with just one out. Both teams grounded into inning-ending double plays with multiple runners on that inning.

After allowing two hits in a scoreless second, Dobnak went single-walk to start the third and earned himself a mound visit. After Edwin singled to load the bases, Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli pulled the trigger on an early bullpen move. Today, it was Tyler Duffey — generally one of the late-inning arms — entering to limit the damage in a pivotal, early, high-leverage situation.

Unfortunately, things didn’t go well, and Duffey’s inability to find an out pitch doomed him.

After a Giancarlo Stanton sacrifice fly (on a 2-2 count) doubled the lead, Gleyber Torres singled in another run (on an 0-2 count.) Then (on a 1-2 count), Gary Sanchez got plunked to load the bases.

That brought up Didi Gregorius, who (on a 1-2 count), absolutely obliterated a ball into the third deck. Didi’s initial reaction was that of a man sure the shot would hook foul, but the drive stayed straight and cracked the game clean open.

Duffey wouldn’t finish the inning; a two-out walk ushered him out. Devin Smeltzer wound up being one of the game’s bright spots, but even he couldn’t stop the bleeding, allowing back-to-back singles and letting in one of Duffman’s inherited runners.

As most 8-0 leads will do, this one really knocked the wind out of the Twins’ sails. A walk and a pair of hits got Minnesota on the board in the fifth, but they wouldn’t see another man on the bases until the seventh. Masahiro Tanaka only pitched five innings, but gave up just three hits and fanned seven.

Devin Smeltzer, as alluded to earlier, was able to hold down the fort through the middle innings. In 3.1 frames, he gave up two hits and three walks, but struck out four and kept the Yankees off the board again.

A combination of Cody Stashak, Trevor May, Sergio Romo, and Zack Littell blanked the Yanks for the rest of the game.

A combination of Tommy Kahnle, Adam Ottavino, and Tyler Lyons unfortunately did the same. Jonathan Loáisiga was the only other Yankee to allow a run tonight, when Luis Arraez extended the game with a two-out RBI double in the ninth.

He didn’t extend it for long;


RP Devin Smeltzer (3.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K)


SP Randy Dobnak (2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 BB)

RP Tyler Duffey (0.2 IP, 2 H, 4 ER, BB, K)

CF Max Kepler (0-for-4, 2 K)

3B-1B Miguel Sano (0-for-4, 4 K)


COMMENT OF THE GAMETHREAD: “Smeltzer auditioning for the Game 5 start” — CG19


We all figured starting pitching would be Minnesota’s downfall if there had to be one. But all season long, the team has largely operated under the assumption that letting in nine runs will be fine, since the Bomba Squad can easily score ten. Unfortunately, the fire seems to have gone out of the bats, with the Twins unable to string together many hits, and taking a few ugly at-bats with runners in scoring position.

The team now has a day to regroup, heading back to Target Field needing to win three in a row to stay alive this season.

But, hey. Who knows? Nelson Cruz could give the motivational speech of a lifetime on the plane back home. A familiar squirrel could find his way onto the field on Monday night. The ghost of Harmon Killebrew could appear to Miguel Sano in his sleep and give him the secret to hitting.

This series is far from over.

Editor’s note: Comments to the effect of “The Twins suck” will be deleted without notice. It’s okay to be upset, disappointed, and point out negatives, but give us some substance.