Early on, things didn’t go the Twins’ way at all, but they could’ve been much worse. Facing Néstor Cortes Jr., the offense was utterly dominated by the Cuban, who needed only 11 pitches to retire the top of Minnesota’s order. Then, the Yankees took a 4-0 lead in the bottom half of the first, with Charlie Barnes loading the bases twice. He really struggled with his control and command, giving up three walks and hitting a batter before stranding three runners to conclude the inning.
A leadoff single by D.J. LeMahieu followed by a home run to the Short Porch by Aaron Judge in the second inning put the Yankees ahead 6-0. Barnes was able to cool down at this point forward,. He was able to retire six of the next eight batters, including a 12-pitch scoreless third inning. But Barnes settling down wasn’t enough. The Twins needed their offense to step up. Through the first three innings, Minnesota’s lineup got no-hit by Cortes Jr. The only Twins baserunner came via (checks notes) an Andrelton Simmons’ walk.
The first sign of life from the Twins offense came during the fourth inning. Mitch Garver drew a two-out walk shortly before Rob Refsnyder ended Cortes Jr.’s no-hit bid. Nick Gordon was hit by a pitch, and, suddenly, the Twins were one swing away from getting right back into this game. It was up to Willians Astudillo, and he made contact with every pitch he saw, maybe putting a little pressure over Cortes Jr. But eventually, he flied out to right, ending the Twins’ threat.
Barnes pitched himself into a jam once again in the fourth, giving up two consecutive one-out walks. Luke Voit hit a ball deep to center, and Gordon couldn’t make the diving catch on the warning track. Fortunately for the Twins, that ball bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double, and New York settled for only one run batted in, extending their lead to 7-0. Barnes came back to deliver a scoreless fifth.
Twins get on the board
After getting only one-hit through five innings, the Twins offense finally made some noise. Luis Arraez hit a leadoff double, coming back from an 0-2 count. Josh Donaldson had a full count after getting ahead 3-0, but Cortes Jr. hung a slider in the heart of the plate, and Donaldson brought the rain.
Garver hit a single immediately after that Donaldson home run, prompting the first mound visit for the Yankees in the game. With no outs yet, Minnesota had a great chance to spark a rally. But Cortes Jr. managed to retire the following batter and then induced a ground ball double play to put the inning on the books. As it turned out, after that Garver single, Yankees pitching retired eight consecutive Twins batters.
Kyle Barraclough was the Twins 40th round draft pick in 2011. He chose not to sign and was drafted the next year by the Marlins. He has spent parts of several seasons in the big leagues, and tonight, he made his Twins debut. He came in in relief of Barnes and pitched a 1-2-3 sixth frame. However, New York managed to add three more runs: a leadoff home run by Voit in the seventh and a two-run shot by LeMahieu in the eighth. Juan Minaya took over and finished the inning. Garver drew another walk, to lead off the ninth inning, but that was all Minnesota got out of that inning.
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