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Yankees hit 3 home runs in 8-4 Wild Card win over Twins, set sights on Cleveland

Griffin Rissinger, Staff Writer

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     For all 30 Major League Baseball teams, 162 games have come and gone, bringing us to the most important part of the season, the playoffs. The MLB postseason officially began Tuesday night when the Minnesota Twins went to the Bronx to take on the New York Yankees in the all-or-nothing single elimination Wild Card game. The home team came out on top, defeating the Twins 8-4.

     The Yankees had Luis Severino starting on the hill, attempting to ride the hot hand; Severino has been good all season, pitching to a 2.98 era with 14 wins and 230 strikeouts. The Twins went with their All-Star ace, Ervin Santana, who finished 2017 with a 3.28 era and 16 wins. Santana, even though having a solid season, historically didn’t have good number at Yankees Stadium (career record of 0-5) and also has struggled in the postseason (6.57 career ERA). This was Severino’s first playoff game.

     The first inning was a bad one for Severino, as the 23-year-old got pulled before three outs were recorded. The start of the game was exciting as Twins’ leadoff hitter Brian Dozier hit a solo home run. Following a Joe Mauer foul-out, Jorge Polanco walked and Eddie Rosario went deep for the second round-tripper Severino allowed in the inning. Following the home run, Severino allowed back-to-back singles to Eduardo Escobar and Max Kepler. Yankees manager Joe Girardi had seen enough, and elected to replace Severino with reliever Chad Green. Green picked up two strikeouts, finally ending the inning.

     Facing a 3-0 deficit after just a half of an inning, the Yankees responded big. Brett Gardner walked, and Aaron Judge singled. Shortstop Didi Gregorius then hit a game-tying three-run home run. Just like that, we had a brand new ballgame.

    The Twins failed to put up a run in the top of the second inning, but in the bottom frame Gardner gave New York the lead with a solo home run to right field. In the third, the Twins loaded the bases on a hit and two walks before the Yankees skipper went to the reliable David Robertson in relief of Green. Robertson got Byron Buxton to ground into a fielder’s choice, a play that enabled Jorge Polanco to score and tie the game. Other than that, Robertson got out of the bases loaded jam. The Yankees offense wasn’t going to let a tied game stand too long; Gary Sanchez doubled and first baseman Greg Bird drove Sanchez in with a single. The ‘Bronx Bombers’ once again had the edge, 5-4.

     The Twins would not put another run on the board for the remainder of the game. In the fourth inning, the Yankees extended their lead when Judge hit a two-run home run to left field, scoring Gardner. Judge finished the regular season with the American-League-high in home runs (52), and set several rookie records in his first full season in MLB.

     In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Yankees scored their eighth and final run on the power of three walks and a single. Judge was the final Yankee to cross the plate when Aaron Hicks walked.

     The Twins held down in the seventh and eighth, but had to face their biggest challenge in the ninth inning in the form of Aroldis Chapman. To no surprise, aside from a single by Mauer, Chapman struck out the side.

     The Yankees, down 3-0 not even after one inning, picked up the 8-4 win and advance to the American League Divisional series against the #1 seed in the American League, the Cleveland Indians. The 5-game series begins on Thursday night at 7:30 pm. The other AL divisional series is the Boston Red sox against the Houston Astros.  

 

Down 3-0 in the first inning, Didi Gregorius hit a three-run home run that altered the momentum. 
 

 

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Yankees hit 3 home runs in 8-4 Wild Card win over Twins, set sights on Cleveland