Tagged: Minnesota Twins

Betances, Miller and Chapman pitched three perfect innings as the Yankees beat the Twins

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Masahiro Tanaka – ESPN

The Yankees beat the Minnesota Twins, 5-3, at Yankee Stadium on Friday night to get back to .500 (36-36). They have gone 2-2 in their last four games but the previous time that they were .500 before they were 34-34 the Yankees went on to lose four out of five games.

The Yankees will look to win the next two games against the Twins to extend the winning streak to four games and give them momentum heading into the series against the Texas Rangers. Minnesota has the worst record in all of baseball so it is important that the Bronx Bombers take advantage of playing an opponent that they are better than.

Joe Girardi’s ideal scenario happened in this game as Masahiro Tanaka pitched six innings and kept the Yankees in the game, which led to the Big Three of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman closing out the game while not allowing a hit.

Minnesota committed three errors, which helped Tanaka leave the game with a 4-3 lead. Carlos Beltran hit a double to left to score Brett Gardner and then Alex Rodriguez singled to left to score Beltran to tie the score at two. The Yankees scored two more runs in the fourth off of a sacrifice fly by Austin Romine and a RBI single to left by Rob Refsnyder.

Refsnyder, who will likely not be playing first as much with Mark Teixeira coming off the disabled list on Saturday, is hitting 6 for 17 (.353 with four runs scored, two doubles and two RBIs in his last five games. His average is an impressive .286 in 56 at-bats this season, which proves that he really knows how to produce offensively when given the opportunity.

Tanaka ended his start with his sixth quality start in his past seven. He allowed three runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out seven. He also had a higher swing and miss percentage than most starting pitchers. Tanaka had allowed two runs or less in five of his previous six starts, but he was able to make pitches when he needed to in this one.

“Tanaka has the ability to pitch and get big outs when he needs them,” Joe Girardi said.

Aaron Hicks, who was playing against his former team, hit a solo home run with one out in the 8th to give the Yankees a 5-3 lead. His homer landed in about the second row in left field. That was his first right-handed homer of the year and third homer overall. He now has a .310 average with two RBIs in his last 11 games.

“I am feeling good on both sides,” Hicks said. “I feel like as the season goes on my at-bats are getting better.” He was hitting .205 on June 12 and his average is now up to .217 and he has at least one hit in six of the last seven games he has started.

Tanaka got Kurt Suzuki to ground into a double play to end the sixth inning in what ended up being his last batter because Betances was ready to come into the came with the Yankees leading. Betances had a 10-pitch inning in the seventh, and he got Robbie Grossman to strike out on a nasty curve that bounced before getting to the plate.

Miller pitched the 8th inning and came into the game having struck out 50 percent of the batters he had faced. That is an outstanding ratio and only two relief pitchers have done that before. His fastball and slider combo worked to perfection in the eighth as he retired the side in order and struck out the dangerous Brian Dozier to lower his ERA to 1.14.

Aroldis Chapman struck out the first two batters on six pitches and all of the pitches were above 100 mph. He would strikeout out the side on a 90 mph off speed pitch. He threw a circle change that completely froze Suzuki to end the game.

In the ninth inning, Chapman threw 10 pitches that were 101 mph or faster and then his 11th pitch was 90 mph. There is basically not another relief pitcher in baseball who could have 11 consecutive pitches like the ones that Chapman had.

“They are going to have their lumps but I feel pretty good about them,” Girardi said about the Big Three.

In 10 games Betances, Miller and Chapman have appeared in together before this game they had a combined 1.48 ERA and 52 strikeouts. Those numbers are even more impressive after Friday’s game.

The Yankees play their next 16 games until the All-Star break against teams outside of the AL East, which is a positive for the Yankees since they are 10-17 against AL East opponents this season. Saturday’s game will be at 1:05 p.m., and Michael Pineda will get the start for the Yankees. He will look to rebound from allowing three runs on one homer and six hits in 5.1 innings in his last start.

The lineup for this afternoon’s series finale against the Minnesota Twins

Alex Rodriguez.

Alex Rodriguez.

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

The lineup for the second game of the series against the Minnesota Twins

Greg Bird.

Greg Bird.

The Yankees will look to win their second consecutive game in the series against the Minnesota Twins. CC Sabathia, who was originally scheduled to start on Monday, will get the start tonight because it was decided that everyone in the rotation would get an extra day of rest.

The Yankees won Monday’s game 8-7 in 10 innings as Chase Headley’s ground out to the shortstop scored Brendan Ryan for the game-winning run. Carlos Beltran’s homer to left that scored Greg Bird in the sixth inning tied the game at seven. That was Beltran’s third homer in his last four games and Bird’s pinch-hit double was his first hit at Yankee Stadium.

Bryan Mitchell was unfortunately hit in the face by a line drive by Eduardo Nunez in the second inning, which forced the bullpen to pitch the final 8.1 innings. Mitchell walked off the field with the assistance of athletic trainer Steve Donahue, and Mitchell ended up coming away with a nasal fracture, which is better than it could have been given the circumstance. The bullpen will be shorthanded tonight since Chasen Shreve, Justin WIlson, Adam Warren, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller all pitched during Monday’s game.

The Yankees, who are now a game ahead of the Blue Jays since Toronto didn’t play last night, will send out a different lineup than normal tonight. Chase Headley will get the night off and Ryan will play third base.

“I just felt Head could use a day,” Girardi said. “I gave him that day (in Cleveland) to try to give him two days because his legs were beat up, and I think he played eight innings that day. I just feel that he can use a day.” In 119 plate appearances with runners in scoring position this season, Headley has a line of .324/.370/.543 with 43 RBIs.

Mark Teixeira, who fouled a ball off his right leg just below his knee during last night’s game, had X-rays last night that were negative. However, his further tests did reveal that he had a deep bone bruise. It could take a few days until he is back in the lineup.

Bird, who has a .200 average in 10 at-bats, has been impressive at the plate so far even though he only has two hits. He has found the holes recently since both of his hits have come in his previous two at-bats. He will get the start tonight for Teixeira and is ready to play the next few games in case Teixeira is not able to.

“At least he’s gotten his feet wet, which is helpful,” Girardi said. “It’s not like we had him called up today and said you’re in the lineup. He’s done a good job over there. He may be called into duty for a few days.”

Here is the lineup for tonight’s game against the Twins:

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Alex Rodriguez DH
Brian McCann C
Carlos Beltran RF
Greg Bird 1B
Didi Gregorius SS
Stephen Drew 2B
Brendan Ryan 3B

Nathan Eovaldi and six runs in the 6th inning led the Yankees to a win over the Twins

Chase Headley

Chase Headley

The Yankees beat the Minnesota Twins, 7-2, on Sunday afternoon at Target Field in what Nathan Eovaldi said was his best start this season. He pitched eight innings (including a leadoff double to Miguel Sano in the ninth) and allowed only two runs while striking out five on 100 pitches. It was the first time that he had pitched more than 7.1 innings this season.

Eovaldi has now allowed two runs or less in six of his last seven starts, which has lowered his ERA from 5.12 to a much more respectable 4.27. During this start, he was able to strike out four of the first six batters that he faced and didn’t allow an extra base hit until Sano’s double in the ninth.

“I thought his split was outstanding and I thought he used his curve ball effectively,” Joe Girardi said. “He is very strong and doesn’t lose velocity as the game goes along. He is getting strikeouts on his split, which is always important for a pitcher when you can get strikeouts when you need them. I think he has improved all year.”

The first run that the Twins scored off of Eovaldi was a an RBI groundout by Torii Hunter that scored Aaron Hicks in the third inning. Trevor Plouffe’s RBI single that scored Sano in the ninth was also charged to Eovaldi. He has really improved his splitter in his last seven starts, which has helped him record a 5-0 record, 2.83 ERA and a .245 batting average against in that span.

“I had the fastball working both sides of the plate and I got swings and misses with my split,” Eovaldi said. “I was getting early chases in the count and got big double play balls when I needed to.”

Carlos Beltran, who doubled to right center, was on third with one out in the second, but the fact that he was stranded at third by Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius did not end up hurting the Yankees. Headley, who was 2-4 and is hitting .344 with 11 RBIs in July, hit a homer to the concourse in right off of Twins starter Kyle Gibson in the fifth inning to tie the score at one. The Yankees scored six runs in the sixth inning to help give them the win.

Garrett Jones hit an RBI single to give the Yankees a 2-1 advantage, Headley singled to right to score Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann, Didi Gregorius hit a safety squeeze bunt for an RBI that drove in Garrett Jones and then Stephen Drew hit a two-run homer to give the Yankees their seventh run. Drew (.188 average) now has 13 homers, which is second most among all second basemen in the American League.

Eovaldi now has so much confidence in his split-fingered fastball that he shook off the slider in the first and threw the splitter to strike out Hunter.

“Eovaldi has been great for us,” Headley said. “It is fun to watch him when he gets the ball.”

Dellin Betances, who got all three outs in the ninth inning, got Kurt Suzuki to hit into a double play to end the game as Eddie Rosario was doubled off of first after a catch and throw by Headley.

“Great win for us,” Headley said. “I think you stay the course. Keep working hard and know the results will come.” That was what Headley said in reference to his recent offensive improvement.

This was the team’s sixth consecutive series win. The Yankees have a 7-2 record with 4.6 runs runs per game and a solid 3.71 ERA since the All-Star break. Their 14-5 record in July is also the best in all of baseball.

The Yankees (55-42) now have a 6.5 game lead over the Toronto Blue Jays (50-50) and a 7 game lead over the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East. They will play the first of four games against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park tonight at 8:05 p.m. EST.

Phil Hughes didn’t allow a run in seven innings in the Twins 10-1 win over the Yankees

Brett Gardner

Brett Gardner

The Yankees lost 10-1 to the Minnesota Twins at Target Field in the first game of the series. They previously went 5-1 on their home-stand and swept the Baltimore Orioles, and they now have a 5.5 game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays in the division as a result of the Rays winning and the Blue Jays losing on Friday.

Michael Pineda, who usually pitches well when he is on normal rest, allowed five runs on eight hits in 5.2 innings pitched. The scoring started for the Twins in the first inning as rookie Miguel Sano hit a homer to straightaway center field to drive in Torii Hunter, who is back with the Twins after playing his first 11 years of his career with them. That homer was a sign of what was to come for Pineda, who struggled with his fastball and slider.

Kurt Suzuki drove in Eddie Rosario with a single in both the second and fourth innings and Aaron Hicks hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Trevor Plouffe before Suzuki’s single in the fourth. Pineda, who is a better pitcher than his 3.97 ERA, needs to be more consistent as he has now allowed four earned runs or more in two consecutive starts and has allowed one or more homers in three straight starts.

“It’s hard to say,” Joe Girardi said. “He made some mistakes with his fastball. He made a mistake to Sano. It was a few things. Sometimes their (starting pitchers) stuff isn’t as sharp and tonight it (Pineda’s) wasn’t.” He also made some mistakes with his slider, according to Girardi.

Brandon Pinder come on in relief and allowed a solo homer to Hunter in his 1.1 innings, but Chris Capuano, who is the long man, truly put the game out of reach after that. He allowed two homers and an RBI single to give the Twins a 10-0 lead. The Twins had 14 hits, only one starter didn’t have a hit and Suzuki, Rosario, Plouffe and Hunter all had multi-hit games against the Yankees.

The Yankees had opportunities to score more than one run as they had 10 hits, which included three by Mark Teixeira, two by Didi Gregorius and two by Stephen Drew. Brett Gardner singled to right in the sixth, which means that he has reached base safely in a career-high 25 games in a row. However, he would be stranded at first.

Gregorius, who had the first of this two hits against Phil Hughes, hit his first career homer in 2013 at Yankee Stadium against Hughes when Gregorius was playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Yankees had three straight singles with two outs in the seventh inning off of Hughes, but Jacoby Ellsbury, who was 0-4, lined out to left to prevent any runs from scoring. Hughes, who had a shutout in seven innings against his former team, didn’t walk anyone and has the lowest walks per nine innings in the league.

The ninth inning was the only other time when a Yankee got to third in the game.

Drew hit a single through the infield to left field to advance Didi Gregorius to third with one out in the ninth. Ellsbury hit a sacrifice fly to deep center to score Gregorius and put the Yankees on the scoreboard and make the score 10-1. Brett Gardner popped out to left to end the game.

The Yankees will look to bounce back against the surprising Twins, who are 52-44, when they play the second game of the series on Saturday at 7:10 p.m. EST. CC Sabathia will get the start for the Yankees and will look to prove that is really back on track.

He is coming off of two starts where he has allowed two runs or less. In his previous start, on July 19, against the light hitting Seattle Mariners, he had his best start in two months as he allowed one run in six innings while striking out seven. His 5.25 ERA is still not where he wants it to be, but he has been throwing his change up and throwing to all parts of the strike zone a lot better in his previous two starts

Tommy Milone, who has a 3.38 ERA in 12 games this season, will get his 13th start of the season for the Twins. He allowed five earned runs in 2.2 innings in his previous start.

The Yankees have signed veteran relief pitcher Jared Burton to a minor-league contract

Jared Burton pitching for the Twins in 2012.

Jared Burton pitching for the Twins in 2012.

On Monday, the Yankees announced that they had signed relief pitcher Jared Burton to a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training. The 33-year-old veteran spent his last three seasons with the Minnesota Twins after pitching his previous five seasons in the Cincinnati Reds organization.

Last season he was 3-5 with a 4.36 ERA in 64 innings for the Twins. In 2014, he relied on his change (88mph) and four-seam fastball (93mph), and also mixed in his slider (86mph) and sinker (92mph). He is a fly ball pitcher and his signature pitch is a splitter-changeup that he calls a splangeup.

He did not locate his pitches last season like he has in previous seasons as his career ERA is a good bit lower than it was in 2014. In 361 innings as a relief pitcher with the Reds and Twins, he has an 18-19 record, a 3.44 ERA, 305 strikeouts and 136 walks.

Burton, who went to Western Carolina University, had his most productive season in 2012. During that campaign as Minnesota’s primary set-up man, he had a career-low 2.18 ERA, 18 holds, 55 strikeouts, a career-low 2.3 walks per nine innings while throwing 62 innings.

The Yankees currently have a lot of depth in their bullpen and are basically already set in terms of the relief pitchers who will make the major league roster, which means that Burton will most likely start the season with Triple-A Scranton and be ready in case of an injury. If he pitches the way he did in 2012 during spring training, it is possible that he earns the last spot in the bullpen. However, it doesn’t seem like that will happen since his stats have gotten worse from 2012 to 2013 and from 2013 to 2014.

This move makes sense because the Yankees have nothing to lose since they didn’t give up anything, and he could help the Yankees win a few games this season if the regains some of the effectiveness that he previously had.

The Yankees have signed Scott Baker to a minor-league contract

Scott Baker pitching for the Twins.

Scott Baker pitching for the Twins.

The Yankees have signed right-hander Scott Baker to a minor-league contract, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America. The deal will be worth $1.5 million if he makes the roster. The Texas Rangers signed him to a minor-league deal last year and he finished the 2014 season with a 5.47 ERA in 25 games (eight starts). He had a 3.60 ERA after only making three starts for the Chicago Cubs in 2013.

Baker, who is 33 and went to Oklahoma State University, is entering his 10th season after having some success as a mid to end of rotation starter during his first seven seasons of his career with the Minnesota Twins from 2005-2011. In 2009, he had a career-highs of 15 wins, 33 starts and 162 strikeouts, while having a high 4.37 ERA. His previous season was much better as he allowed 66 earned runs (31 less than 2009), had a 3.45 ERA and allowed eight fewer homers than he did the previous season. From 2007-2011, he went 55-37 with a 3.98 ERA in 821 innings.

In his nine seasons, he has 66 wins, a 4.25 ERA, 170 starts, 21 appearances out of the bullpen, a 1.253 WHIP, 831 strikeouts and 242 walks. Baker hasn’t had much success (or game appearances) the last two seasons after missing all of 2012 due to Tommy John surgery, but this signing makes sense because if the Yankees don’t sign another established starter, he could be used instead of Chris Capuano at the end of the rotation.

Baker has been a good control pitcher throughout his career, finishing in the top 10 in the American League in strikeout-to-walk ratio three times. He has the fourth-best strikeout-to-walk ratio in the history of the Twins, including their time as the Washington Senators, at 3.438 (behind only Kevin Slowey‘s 4.702, Jim Merritt‘s 3.904 and Johan Santana‘s 3.794).

Through the 2011 season, Baker threw six pitches: a four-seam fastball (89-96mph), a two-seam fastball (88-93mph), a cut fastball (mid 80s), a slider (low 80s), a curveball (79-81mph) and a changeup (low 80s). Since pitching in 2013 with the Cubs, his average fastball velocity has dropped into the high 80s and he has used his curveball much less frequently. In 2014, he relied primarily on his four-seam fastball (91mph), slider (82mph), sinker (90mph), and sinker (90mph).