Photo: AP/Julie Jacobson
Photo: AP/Julie Jacobson
April 25, 2018 09:48 PM
Didi Gregorius homered for the fourth straight game and added two RBIs to his major league-leading total, sending the New York Yankees past the Minnesota Twins 7-4 in a hazy fog Wednesday night for their fifth consecutive victory.
Tyler Austin hit a three-run shot and made a sparkling defensive play at first base to stop a Twins rally. With a fine effort from the bullpen, New York handed Minnesota its sixth defeat in a row - the team's longest skid since a seven-game slide in September 2016.
Slumping slugger Miguel Sano launched an early two-run homer for the Twins, who lost their seventh straight to New York, including last year's AL wild-card game. They have dropped 12 of their last 13 at Yankee Stadium, counting the postseason.
After a rainy day in the Bronx that forced both teams indoors for batting practice, the game began on time in 53-degree weather before a scattered crowd. And by the mid-to-late innings, a damp mist had morphed into a soupy, spooky fog that descended on Yankee Stadium and made it feel more like Victorian London.
Play on the field didn't seem to be affected all that much, but late in the game Yankees announcers said the fog was so thick that the YES Network couldn't get the strike zone box to function on the telecast.
Chad Green (2-0) relieved shaky starter Sonny Gray in the fifth inning and got five outs for the win. Green retired slumping Logan Morrison with the bases loaded to end the fifth.
Morrison, who began the night batting .103, whiffed again with the bases loaded against Chasen Shreve for the second out of the seventh. Austin then sprinted some 90 feet to make a sliding, over-the-shoulder catch in foul territory of Robbie Grossman's popup near the low retaining wall, preserving New York's 6-4 lead.
David Robertson pitched a perfect eighth and Aroldis Chapman closed for his fourth save. Gregorius charged in to make a barehanded play at shortstop for the final out, with the call at first base upheld following a replay review.
Gregorius had an RBI single in the first, a solo homer in the third off Lance Lynn (0-2) and a bunt single to beat the infield shift in the sixth. He also walked twice, reaching safely all five times up, and leads the majors with 29 RBIs. All nine of his home runs this season have come at Yankee Stadium.
Austin's homer in the third gave New York a 5-2 lead. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton each had a sacrifice fly for New York. Gleyber Torres got two hits and scored twice.
Lynn allowed six runs and seven hits over 3 2/3 innings in his fourth start for the Twins.
Austin started at first base against a right-hander even though switch-hitter Neil Walker is 15 for 40 (.375) with three homers, four doubles and two triples off Lynn. With a decision on his appeal expected any day now, Austin will probably soon need to begin serving a suspension for his role in an April 11 brawl with Boston. Knowing his team has a day game Thursday and the 32-year-old Walker, banged up recently, could have to play several games in a row once Austin is unavailable, Yankees manager Aaron Boone went with Austin. "Really tough decision for me. I grinded over it most of the day," Boone said. "I kind of looked at more of a long view of it."
Twins: Lynn appeared to twist his left ankle when he jumped a bit to field a fourth-inning comebacker. He made an accurate throw to the plate, but came up hobbling. He was checked by a trainer, threw two warmup pitches and remained in the game for two more batters. ... Gold Glove CF Byron Buxton did not play in extended spring training as planned and instead had his left big toe drained. Buxton is on the disabled list, retroactive to April 15, due to migraine symptoms that have cleared up, but he fouled a ball off his foot Sunday during a rehab assignment with Class A Fort Myers. It's unclear if he'll be able to return to the lineup this weekend against Cincinnati.
Yankees: Gray took a fifth-inning line drive off the back of his pitching arm, near his shoulder, and was checked by Boone and a trainer. The right-hander threw two warmup tosses and seemed OK, lasting four more batters before he was pulled. ... 3B Brandon Drury (severe migraines) had two singles and scored twice in a rehab game with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Yankees LHP Jordan Montgomery (2-0, 3.80 ERA) pitches the four-game series finale Thursday afternoon on Judge's 26th birthday. Montgomery, unbeaten in his last nine starts, was tagged for six earned runs and seven hits over six innings in a loss at Minnesota last year. Twins RHP Kyle Gibson (1-1, 4.29) is 1-4 with a 9.31 ERA in six career starts against New York.
Created: April 25, 2018 09:48 PM
(Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)