Didi goes deep again, Austin powers Yankees past Twins 7-4
NEW YORK (AP) For anyone unable to see him out there: Didi Gregorius had another huge night.
Make that Tyler Austin, too.
Gregorius homered for the fourth straight game and added two RBIs to his major league-leading total, going 3 for 3 with two walks to send the New York Yankees past the Minnesota Twins 7-4 in a hazy fog Wednesday for their fifth consecutive victory.
”He’s playing great. He really is,” manager Aaron Boone said . ”I thought a lot of guys did a lot of good things tonight to contribute to that win.”
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.
”They’ve been really tough on our pitching,” Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. ”This lineup right now, there’s not much margin for error.”
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. 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 the YES Network couldn’t get the strike zone box to function on the telecast.
”It was pretty tough to pick up some of those flyballs in the outfield. We couldn’t even see the upper deck,” Aaron Judge said.
Chad Green (2-0) relieved shaky starter Sonny Gray in the fifth and got five outs. Green retired slumping Logan Morrison with the bases loaded to end the inning.
Morrison, batting .113, also whiffed 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.
”Just an outstanding play. Got me excited. Got me pumped,” Shreve said. ”Huge situation.”
David Robertson pitched a perfect eighth and Aroldis Chapman closed for his fourth save. Gregorius charged in from shortstop to make a barehanded play 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 leads the majors with 29 RBIs, and all nine of his home runs have come at Yankee Stadium. After the latest one, he took a quick curtain call.
”Yes, I still bunt,” Gregorius said.
”Try to stay consistent,” he added. ”I do have a lot of home runs, but it’s not like I’m going out there trying to hit them. I’m not the power guy.”
Austin is awaiting word on his appeal of a suspension for charging the mound during an April 11 brawl with Boston. Still eligible to play until then, the rookie homered in the third to give New York a 5-2 lead and later doubled.
Judge and Giancarlo Stanton each had a sacrifice fly. Gleyber Torres got two hits and scored twice.
”We won that game because of what TA did,” catcher Austin Romine said. ”He’s becoming a force up there at the plate.”
Lynn allowed six runs and seven hits over 3 2/3 innings in his fourth start for the Twins.
”They capitalize on pretty much every mistake it feels like,” he said.
Needing a fresh arm in the bullpen that could provide long relief, Minnesota plans to designate right-hander Tyler Kinley for assignment Thursday and make a corresponding roster move.
Twins: Lynn rolled his left ankle while fielding a fourth-inning comebacker. He made an accurate throw to the plate, but came up hobbling and remained in the game for two more batters. ”I’m sure he’ll get it treated. We’re not anticipating him missing any time,” Molitor said. … 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. But he seemed OK and lasted four more batters before getting pulled. … 3B Brandon Drury (severe migraines) had two singles and scored twice in a rehab game with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
LHP Jordan Montgomery (2-0, 3.80 ERA) pitches Thursday afternoon as New York goes for a four-game sweep 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 the Yankees.
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