The Yankees beat the Minnesota Twins, 8-4, on Tuesday night and Alex Rodriguez broke out of his slump with what ended up being the game-winning homer. Rodriguez was 1-23 going into his at-bat in the seventh inning, but he was able to hit his most clutch hit of the season as his grand slam off of J.R. Graham gave the Yankees a 5-4 lead.
Rodriguez hit his 25th career grand slam, which is the most in baseball history. Chase Headley, Brendan Ryan and Brett Gardner were on base when Rodriguez moved two above Lou Gehrig for most grand slams all-time. That hit that gave the Yankees the lead for good was only his third hit in his last eight games, and it was his first game with more than one RBI since July 25. Part of the reason that he did not have more than one RBI in a game since then was that Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury had been struggling, but Rodriguez had obviously not been hitting as well.
In the fourth inning, Greg Bird singled to right to score Carlos Beltran to give him his first big league RBI. He singled again in the eighth inning, which gave him his first MLB multi-hit game. He now has four hits in 14 at-bats, which is good for a solid .286 average. The Yankees tacked on three more insurance runs in the eighth as Chase Headley’s double scored Bird and Didi Gregorius and Ellsbury’s single to right scored Headley.
CC Sabathia was not as effective as he was in his previous two starts when he allowed three runs combined, but he was able to give the team length after the bullpen had to pitch 8.1 innings on Monday. Sabathia pitched 6.2 innings while allowed four runs on five hits and three walks. He got into trouble in the seventh since he allowed three runs including Miguel Sano’s two-run homer to left.
The bullpen and offense picked him up after he was taken out of the game. Nick Rumbelow, who recorded his sixth consecutive scoreless appearance, recorded the third out of the seventh, and ended up picking up his first win. Andrew Miller, who threw 13 of his 15 pitches for strikes, only allowed one hit and struck out three in 1.1 innings in saving his 27th game of the season. The bullpen as a whole (Justin Wilson pitched between Rumbelow and Miller) threw 2.1 scoreless innings while striking out four and allowing two hits.
The Yankees have won the first two games of the series against the Twins and have won five of their last six games overall. They are one game ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL East. The Blue Jays have also won two games in a row.
Bird will get the start at first base again today and will continue playing as long as Mark Teixeira is out of the lineup with a severe bone bruise in his leg. It is not known when Teixeira will return.
“(He’s) not really a whole lot better,” Girardi said. “We know it’s day to day, and hopefully one day he’ll come in turn the corner. But he’s got a pretty good bone bruise.”
The Yankees will look to sweep the Twins with Nathan Eovaldi pitching. Due to his improved cutter, Eovaldi has been very good the two months. In his last 10 starts, Eovaldi is 7-0 with a 3.22 ERA and has lowered his ERA from 4.95 to 4.26.
“We’ve just seen a growth in him, and he’s a much more complete pitcher than when we got him, and the development of his split, and ability to mix his other pitches has helped,” Girardi said.
Brian McCann will get the day off because it is a day game after a night game. He will be available to pinch hit later in the game. Here is the lineup for today’s afternoon game against the Twins:
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Alex Rodriguez DH
Carlos Beltran RF
Greg Bird 1B
Chase Headley 3B
Didi Gregorius SS
Stephen Drew 2B
John Ryan Murphy C