Sanchez lifts Yanks to 6-3 win over Minnesota after Paxton exits early

Back home for the first time in 12 days, the Yankees took down the Twins, 6-3, for their first win over a team with a winning record all season. New York is now 1-5 against squads that are above .500, and 9-7 in the Bronx in 2019.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
While the win was certainly nice, the biggest storyline from tonight’s contest was the injury bug’s uninvited reappearance. After three laborious innings, James Paxton was lifted with left knee soreness in a game the Yanks led 2-1. Before his departure, Paxton struggled, allowing an unearned run on two hits and three walks. He also struck out just one and needed 64 pitches to record the nine outs. The injury is a noteworthy one for someone with a checkered injury history like Paxton. The big lefty has made eight trips to the injured list since 2014, and will go for an MRI tomorrow.

Offensively, tonight was all about Minnesota’s mistakes and Gary Sanchez. New York got on the board in the first inning when Gleyber Torres drove in Brett Gardner, who had reached earlier in the inning on a Byron Buxton error. Torres now has a nine-game hitting streak for the Bombers. The lead increased in the second on a Luke Voit RBI single following a walk of Cameron Maybin and Tyler Wade reaching on a hit by pitch. Two more runs were tacked on in the fourth courtesy of yet another Minnesota error, and a wild pitch by Twins starter, Kyle Gibson to make it 4-1. Of the six runs the Yankees scored tonight, three were unearned.

The final two runs of the night came from two solo big flies by Gary Sanchez. Sanchez has 10 home runs in just 68 at-bats, a ratio even more impressive than the 20 he hit in 201 at-bats in late 2016. “El Kraken” leads the Yanks with a 1.068 OPS and has been a much-needed source of power in the absence of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. If he can cut down on the strikeouts (20 in those 68 AB’s), Sanchez can get back to being the force he proved himself to be early in his Big League career.
As for the bullpen, Jonathan Holder came on after Paxton’s injury and did a solid job. The 25-year-old fired two perfect innings and has now posted seven straight scoreless frames. Holder was followed by Adam Ottavino and Tommy Kahnle, who both did their job and continue to be rock-solid this season. As a result, the lead grew to 6-1 for New York. Unfortunately, Zack Britton wasn’t as sharp. He threw just 11 of 22 pitches for strikes and allowed a two-run home run to Nelson Cruz in the eighth to make it 6-3. But that didn’t matter as Aroldis Chapman shut the door on the Twins with a 19-pitch, scoreless ninth for his sixth save of the season. The Yankees are now 12-4 in their last 16 games.

What’s Next?

Game two of this three-game, weekend series is tomorrow afternoon from Yankee Stadium. The probable starting pitching matchup is J.A. Happ (1-2, 4.68 ERA) for New York and Jake Odorizzi (3-2, 3.34 ERA) for Minnesota. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05pm on YES and MLB Network.

Recap by: Jake Graziano


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