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Game Recap: Twins 7, Yankees 5



In a plot twist more shocking than anything you’ll see from Hollywood, the Minnesota Twins toppled the New York Yankees in dramatic fashion thanks to 9th inning heroics from 2 veterans.

Box Score

Happ: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K

Home Runs: Donaldson (8), Cruz (11)

Top 3 WPA: Cruz .447, Donaldson .376, Astudillo .074

Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

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Coming into Thursday night’s game, the Minnesota Twins were leaning on the left arm of J.A. Happ to avoid a 3-game sweep against the evil empire, a tall task considering how the free agent had been performing up to that point. 

Early on, the game started how all Twins fans imagined that it might, as the righty-heavy New York Yankees lineup got to Happ early, capped off by cleanup hitter Giancarlo Stanton launching a three-run blast to the batter’s eye off Happ in the top of the 1st inning to give the Yankees an early 3-0 lead.

After settling down a bit in the 2nd and 3rd, the Yankees got to Happ again in the 4th inning when third baseman, Gio Urshela, hit a solo home run.

In his start, Happ threw 101 pitches across 5 innings, allowing 8 hits, 4 earned runs, and a walk while striking out just 2. The start marked Happ’s third in a row that he was unable to get past 5 innings and his 7th consecutive “non-quality” start. Through 11 starts, Happ now owns a 5.75 ERA and on an expiring contract brings almost no trade value to a team desperate for tradeable assets.

The Twins’ bullpen did a nice job keeping the Yankee bats at bay, aside from Tyler Duffey in the 6th inning who allowed the Yankees to connect on 3 hits, including an RBI single from D.J. LeMahieu to give the Yankees their 5th run of the ballgame. After that, the Twins received scoreless innings from Jorge Alcala, Luke Farrell and Hansel Robles to keep the game within reach.

For much of the game, the 5 runs for the Yankees looked as if they would be enough, as the Twins were unable to form any rallies or score runs in bunches, limiting their damage to singular runs in the 1st, 4th and 7th innings with an RBI double from Andrelton Simmons along with 2 RBI from Nelson Cruz.

Heading into the 9th inning, the Minnesota Twins were down 5-3 and the game seemed that it was inevitably headed towards the same fate as so many games from Twins/Yankees past with Aroldis Chapman on the mound, ready to close out yet another Yankee sweep.

The Minnesota Twins’ veterans had other plans, though, as the top of the order came up to bat and immediately showed that they were seeing Chapman well. Polanco led off the inning with a single before Josh Donaldson tied up the game on a 1-0 fastball that he launched to left center for a game-tying home run.

 

The Minnesota Twins weren’t satisfied with just tying the game, though, as the Twins quickly looked to keep the momentum rolling. Immediately following the Donaldson home run, Willians Astudillo knocked a single before Nelson Cruz came up to the plate and mashed the first pitch of the at-bat, a 97 miles-per-hour fastball to center field to win the game for the Minnesota Twins.

 

In total, Aroldis Chapman threw just 9 pitches, allowing 4 runs on 4 hits and giving the Minnesota Twins the win.

Another Injury for the Home Team

In a season that has largely been defined by injuries for the Minnesota Twins, yet another player fell victim to the injury bug in Thursday night’s game, Alex Kirilloff. Kirilloff was forced to leave the game after fielding Gio Urshela’s triple in the first inning. Per media, Kirilloff has what has been diagnosed as a left low-grade ankle sprain.

 

Another Big Night for Nick

The injury to Alex Kirilloff forced the Minnesota Twins to move Gilberto Celestino to right field and thrust utility infielder, Nick Gordon, in center field. Gordon pleasantly more than held his own out in centerfield and did not look overmatched at all, a huge development for the future career of the Twins former first round draft pick. At the plate, Gordon went 2-for-3 and raised his batting average to .435.

Twins Bullpen Usage

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I'm not watching the Twins live these days but thank goodness I still have my MLB.TV subscription. Re-watched the 9th last night and wow, that happened fast!

Polanco smash, Donaldson bomb, Astudillo PH line drive, Cruz blast. Finally: a game where everything worked out like we drew it up in our minds. I'm happiest for the fans, especially those at the game. They deserved this one big time.

Nick Gordon is emerging and the Twins are going to have to start drawing up plans for him. I know it's early but I think the kid should play every day if possible. If the Twins can't find a place for him to play every day, what do they do? Back to St. Paul? Or does he also hit the trading block for young pitching? Cruz also helping his trade value, he needed a game like this. A 9th inning game winning HR against Aroldis Chapman should remove any doubts about what he brings to a team.

 

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Picked up my kindle in bed,  saw 5-3 bottom of 9th, 0 out, in the ribbon scoreboard on ESPN, tapped it. I  must have missed the first few pitches to Polanco, because what seemed like about 2 minutes, single, homer, single, homer.

I wonder how much time elapsed between the pitch Polanco hit for a  single and the Cruz homer?

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16 minutes ago, rv78 said:

Flipping thru channels and it was 5-2 and figured it was another loss. Tuned in here now and see they won. HUGE surprise. Too bad they have played so poorly that no one cares to watch anymore. 

Last night was the exception, not the norm.  I have to think that the Yankees fans are more embarrassed / confused than anything we might be feeling.

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I am so happy for Nick Gordon. He's had some really rough breaks the last two seasons, and it's great to see him get a shot to play in the majors and take full advantage of it. Did a nice job in CF, I thought, and if he can be a legitimate fill-in there his value goes up substantially. The question for me was never whether Gordon could play in MLB, it was really just whether he could get/stay healthy and how high his ceiling was. Really fun watching him show what he can do.

(not thrilled to see another bloody injury, though. Hopefully this is relatively minor for Kirilloff)

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I could watch the replay of the 9th inning over and over and over. It wasn't like we hit those HR's off of Shoemaker! We beat their best and it feels real good. We slayed the Kracken, for at least one night!! I missed the live action too...was watching Vegas-Avs' hockey game. Figured it was the better choice.

Twins should play Gordon (until he gets hurt)😐 Similar to Refsnyder. Interesting that Simmons recently has perked up slightly. (enhancing his trade value)  Yesterday was the first day in ages where Cruz looked like Cruz again.

If Buxton comes back in the next couple days..what does everyone think as to how many games he plays until the next breakdown? 5,10,15? Or fewer?

Twins rotation is still a trainwreck. Probably won't get fixed this season. Anyone at St Paul ready to kick the can?

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1 hour ago, garn from vancouver said:

my wife was going to the grocery store and i had said that i would drive her (middle of the 7th) she said to stay and watch the rest of the game. i'm happy she made me stay home. that was fun.

That's an anniversary pearl necklace right there, Dude.

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I too kept a wandering eye on the game but around the 8th inning figured this was going to go down like all the rest.  I went to bed early and when I checked in at TD I had to look at the headline multiple times as I thought I was misreading it and then it dawned on me to actually read the article and I could not believe they won.  My brain just couldn't handle the truth.  Well at least it was a pleasant surprise.

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Even in the first two losses, the Twins did not give up in the late innings and brought runners around.  The player who showed real unwillingness not to stay down today was, strangely enough, JA Happ.

Already down 0-3 in the top of the first with Gio Urshela on third, Happ lost control of a 92mph fastball that bounced off Rortvedt's glove (oddly neither a WP or a PB) and sailed to the backstop.  Rortvedt leapt after the ball which had bounced back towards home. Rather than assuming the runner would score and making a half-hearted attempt to cover, Happ put his body on the line.  While taking a bouncing underhand throw from the catcher with his pitching hand, Happ slid across the plate to block Urshela's (dumb) head-first slide and rolled onto him to apply the tag. The block was legal since Happ was receiving an on-target throw for the out, and could have been perilous for him if Urshela had come in feet-first (as the Yankee runner was likewise entitled to do).

Happ gave up another run later and did not get the win.  He certainly has not thrown as well as he or the rest of us would have hoped this season, but in doing what it took to prevent another run and get the third out he set an example for his teammates and contributed to the comeback.  I'm glad he's on our team.

 

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1 hour ago, VivaBomboRivera! said:

...a 92mph fastball that bounced off Rortvedt's glove (oddly neither a WP or a PB) and sailed to the backstop... 

 

WP and PB are scored as such only if a runner advances as a result of the play. It didn't show up in the box score I saw but I'm pretty sure this type of play is scored as a caught stealing.

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