Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Wednesday, July 24. How to describe the Yankees’ 14–12 10-inning win at Target Field in Minneapolis last night? I can but try. Maybe I’ll channel my inner Meat Loaf and see what we get.
It was a hot summer night and the bats were burnin’, fans were jumping up and down in the stands, And when I listened to the game I heard fortunes turnin’, till in the end Aaron Hicks showed that he’s the man.
Early on it looked like a rerun of the Twins’ 8-6 defeat of the Yankees the night before, a game which must have given confidence to the Twins who figure to see the Yankees in October. Domingo German looked terrible, as he has more often than not in his recent outings. He was tagged for 8 runs before his departure on a hook in the 4th. Somehow, with half its players on the DL, the Yankees bailed their starter out as they have done so often. German would do well to see what Didi Gregorius’s favorite special dinner or bottle of booze might be. Sir Didi to his friends drove in 7 runs, 5 in the early innings. He had given his team a 2–0 lead with a double in the first. With his team down 8–2 in the 5th he slugged a 3-run home run off beleaguered Twins’ starter Kyle Gibson. Didi went 5 for 5 on the night and played a role in the Yankees’ 5-run 8th. To cap it off he singled in the 10th when they put across their two winning runs. Gleyber Torres broke a 12-12 tie by singling Didi home.
On the Twins’ side of the ledger, Miguel Sano tried to match Didi. First, it was a 3-run jack in the 4th off German. Then, with the Yanks ahead 10-9 in the 8th and a playmate on base, Sano destroyed a Zack Britton pitch and sent it 457 feet, the distance of Death Valley in the original Yankee Stadium. At Target Field, it didn’t stop by clearing the fence. It sailed over the bullpens. I could hear the awe in John Sterling’s voice, and he’s been in the booth since the early Reagan years. All he could do was tip his hat while the crowd went over the moon.
The Yankees answered with 2 runs in the visiting 9th on a home run delivered by former Twins’ prospect Aaron Hicks. More of him later. The visitors then turned to their closer, Aroldis Chapman. Like Ryne Duren of old, Chapman hadn’t a clue where his pitches were bound, as he walked the bases loaded. Manager Aaron Boone, desperate to save somebody in case of extra innings left Chapman on the hill, where at last the closer found some of his stuff. He gave up a scoring fly ball to Jorge Polanco to level the game at 12 all, but that was minimal compared to what might have happened.
After the Yankees put up their pair in the 10th, Aaron Hicks had an encore for the team that sent him to the Big Apple. Adam Ottavino did a credible impression of Aroldis Chapman, walking the bases full in the 10th. Enter Chad Green. Aaron Hicks stepped over into right center and took off running when Max Kepler launched one. All 3 runners ran like the wind, hoping Kepler’s shot would fall in. If 3 runs scored, the Twins would have won 15–14. Hicks launched an all-out dive and caught the ball. He managed to hold onto it as his chest made hard contact with the warning track. Game over, the Yankees win, as John Sterling shouted.
When all was said and done, there had been five lead changes or ties starting with the 5-run 8th. starting with the visiting 8th, at least one run was scored in the next 5 half innings and Hicks’ grand theft stopped a sure rally by the Twins cold. The two teams can only count their blessings that they play a night game, and not one of the many mid-week day games already in progress as I write a postscript to the kind of amazing game that makes the Yankees who they are. While the Twins put up 15 hits last night, the Yanks hammered out 20. While their better known pitchers faltered, David Hale and Tommy Kahnle held the Yankees’ fort after German left until the 8th-inning eruption. Anything they can manage tonight pales into nothing beside this 5-hour epic more suited to October than mid-July.0