The Yankees, who won the first game of the series against the Minnesota Twins 7-4 on July 3 at Target Field after losing eight of their previous 10 games, will try for to push their winning streak to two on July 4th. This will be their second consecutive year playing the Twins at Target Field on the 4th of July.
Today is the 75th anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s legendary “Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth” speech. According to Jeff Quagliata, other notable Yankees moments from July 4th in Yankees history include Mickey Mantle hitting his 300th homer on this day in 1960, Dave Righetti throwing a no-hitter on this day in 1983 and knuckleballer Phil Niekro recording his 3,000th strikeout on this day in 1984. Jorge Posada and Marcus Thames slugged extra-inning walk-off hits on July 4th in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
To help the Yankees win Thursday’s game, Carlos Beltran hit a three-run homer in the fifth to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead. Zelous Wheeler, who was called up to the Yankees before the game, hit a solo homer later in the fifth in his first career MLB game. He is the first Yankee to homer in his first major-league game since Andy Phillips in 2004.
The Yankees scored three more runs in the seventh inning and their fifth run was scored by Ichiro Suzuki after a double by Brendan Ryan. Those were all the runs that the Yankees would need as Trevor Plouffe scored the Minnesota’s fourth and final run in the bottom of the seventh. Masahiro Tanaka’s four runs allowed in this start were more than in any of his other starts, but he was able to American League leading 12th win as a result of the seven runs that the Yankees scored.
Phil Hughes, who pitched for the Yankees from 2007 until 2013, allowed seven runs in his 6.1 innings pitched. Hughes was the right pitcher for the Yankees to break out of their slump with runners in scoring position. The Yankees were 3-4 with RISP, which included Beltran’s homer.
Mark Teixeira was impressed by Wheeler’s homer that he hit against the Twins. He tweeted that: “We figured out the secret to scoring more runs… just put Zealous in the lineup. What a debut!
Chase Whitley will look to bounce back from his previous start where he allowed five runs in his second worst start of his brief career. During his last two starts Whitley’s ERA has risen from 2.56 to 4.70. It will be key for him to control the ball and not allow walks like he did in four consecutive starts.
Kyle Gibson, a 6-6 righty from Indiana, will get the start for the Twins. In his last two starts Gibson allowed two and seven runs, respectively, which proves he has been hit or miss. The Yankees will look to have another memorable Independence Day game.