When the 2021 New York Yankees win, they win the hard way. Gary Sánchez was the hero with a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 10th, but Aaron Judge’s game-tying three-run homer in the eighth paved the way. It was Gary’s second walk-off hit and his first since 2018. The win capped a remarkable comeback the Yankees desperately needed in the makeup of their August 22nd rainout.
Down Big Early
Luis Gil started for the Yankees and received a rude greeting from the Twins. Luis Arraez singled ahead of Jorge Polanco, who delivered a 421ft. two-run homer into the right-field bleachers. The homer marked the first extra-base hit allowed by Gil in his young career. But that mark was doubled three batters later when Miguel Sanó rocked a first-pitch fastball into the left-field seats for another two-run homer.
Gil continued to make his pitches and stay in the zone. While inviting hard contact more often than not, Gil struck out eight batters in a workhorse six innings of work. Still, he allowed a third homer to Byron Buxton, digging the Yankees into a 5-0 hole. The young righty nevertheless gave the Yankees and Aaron Boone something they desperately needed: innings.
Yankees Stay Alive Thanks to Unlikely Sources
Prior to the sixth inning, a much-changed Yankees lineup and defense struggled off a trove of Twins pitchers. Minnesota lost starter John Gant in the first inning due to an abdominal strain. That injury forced manager Rocco Baldelli to piece together 8.1 innings from his bullpen.
With Anthony Rizzo rested after a tough tumble in Sunday’s series finale in Queens, Luke Voit struggled in his place. The first baseman grounded into a double-play following Joey Gallo’s bunt single, the Yankees first hit of the game. Gleyber Torres also moved from shortstop to second, a move likely to be his position for the foreseeable future, according to Boone. But the change didn’t yet affect his bat, as Gleyber also grounded into a double-play in the second.
In the sixth, the Yankees finally scratched across a run thanks to Tyler Wade. The shortstop walked, stole second, moved to third on a flyout, and scored on a lineout caught by Max Kepler leaping into the wall in right. Gallo led off the seventh and laced high fastball from Tyler Duffey into the right-field seats for the Yankees’ second. All the while, the Yankees stayed in the game thanks to a remarkable relief appearance from Andrew Heaney. Pitching out of necessity, Heaney threw 1.2 innings of shutout ball, passing the torch to Albert Abreu to get the final out of the eighth.
Yankees Cap Comeback in Style
Down three in the eighth, Rizzo pinch-hit for Wade and drew a walk. Two straight flyouts saw Brett Gardner come to the plate, who walked on a questionably called ball four. With Alex Colomé on in relief, Judge stepped up to rocket a 2-1 cutter into the right-field seats to tie the game.
Aroldis Chapman came in to hold the Twins level in the ninth. He successfully maneuvered around a double and a walk following his two strikeouts to open the frame. Again struggling to locate his fastball, Chapman utilized his slider to get Polanco to fly out to deep center and end the threat. However, the Yankees went down 1-2-3 on three strikeouts in the ninth. Extra innings brought Clay Holmes in to impressively lay down the middle of the Twins order with the ghost runner on second. That brought the Yankees their best chance to win the game and Sánchez’s laser to left gave the team a happy ride down to Baltimore.
The Yankees win was their first in 36 games when trailing by four or more runs on the season. Only the Marlins now have yet to win in such circumstances. Tomorrow, the Yankees open up their three-game road trip with Gerrit Cole toeing the rubber in his first start since his hamstring scare on September 7th.