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Twins 8, Yankees 6: Solo (home runs) take down the Evil Empire

Five solo bombas, a triple play, and a good bullpen (?!?) pick up the win

MLB: New York Yankees at Minnesota Twins
Take that Yankees!
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

There aren’t many nights like that at Target Field. The ball was flying out, the offense was plentiful, and a myriad of odd and unique occurrences took place in downtown Minneapolis as the Twins took down the Yankees.

It didn’t look good from the start. Martin Perez wasted no time providing some anxiety for Twins fans, walking DJ LeMahieu on four pitches before eventually issuing a free pass to Aaron Judge as well. With two on and nobody, you could hear a collective groan as Twin-killer Edwin Encarnacion stepped to the plate. A three-run bomb perhaps? Another walk? A RBI double? No, the tides turned instead on old Edwin, and this happened instead:

Suddenly back in the dugout, the Twins bats didn’t take long to come alive. Jorge Polanco spanked a bomba to left-center, immediately followed by a Nelson Cruz boomstick to a similar spot of the ball yard.

It seemed that maybe Martin Perez would also ride the wave of momentum created by the triple play and had an excellent second inning, striking out the side on just 10 pitches. Things would go back to getting dicey in the third inning, as Gio Urshela came up and smacked a home run to cut the lead in half. The next four Yankees also reached base (including three hits), but Perez was able to limit the damage by inducing an inning-ending double play.

The Twins were quick to respond in the third, scoring three runs even though just one ball left the infield. Nelson Cruz collected an RBI on a catcher’s interference play, followed by two RBI fielder’s choices by Eddie Rosario and Miguel Sano (on a pair of fine plays by the Yankees infield). That made the score 5-2, but the Bronx Bombers wouldn’t take long to cut the lead.

The Yankees were back on the board with an oppo taco blast by Luke Voit, as the right handed slugger shot one out to right field. The bomba squad was back in action in the bottom of the fourth, as Max Kepler also clubbed a dong to right before Mitch Garver bounced one of the top of the wall in left for another dinger to give the Twins a 7-3 lead.

Kepler’s home run had just a 25% chance of being a hit, while Garver’s had just a 7% chance of becoming a base knock according to Statcast. Fortunately, both balls cleared the fence, and evidenced how much the ball was flying out Monday night at Target Field.

Things got ugly once again for Martin Perez in the fifth, as he gave up a two-run bombski to LeMahieu (just a 29% chance of being a hit) before walking Judge for the third time and exiting the game. Luckily Tyler Duffey cleaned things up and finished out the inning, though the Twins led just 7-5 at the end of five.

Possible pet kangaroo owner Lewis Thorpe entered the game for the Twins in the sixth, and things weren’t looking good to start for the Aussie. Three of the first four Yanks collected hits to score a run for Evil Empire, but Thorpe decided that it would be better to get Aaron Judge to ground into a double play than walk him for a fourth time, so he did so to get out of the inning.

Mitch Mash Garver decided to diversify his home run portfolio in the seventh inning, this time hitting an absolute rocket shot off the facing of the second deck and giving the Twins an insurance run and an 8-6 lead going into the eighth.

Lewis Thorpe provided a quality effort with 2.2 innings of work, and was eventually relieved by Ryne Harper, who retired the last man in the eighth. Taylor Rogers entered the contest in the ninth inning, but wasn’t about to let Twins fans go to bed without any anxiety at the end of the game. A pair of Yankee singles had men on first and third with the go-ahead run at the plate in Gary Sanchez with just one out. The pinstriped catcher whiffed on a nasty breaking ball from Rogers before Aaron Hicks grounded back to the Twins lefty on the first pitch to end the game.


Mitch Garver: 3-4, 2 HR

Jorge Polanco: 2-3, HR, BB

Nelson Cruz: 1-3, HR, 2 RBI

Max Kepler: 1-3, HR

Bullpen: 5 IP, ER, 4 Ks