Game 117 Recap: Yankees 8 Twins 7 (10 Innings)

Walk-Off vs MIN Where do you even start with last night's game?  There were all kinds of unusual things happening, both really good and really bad, and somehow the Yankees came out on the winning side of it in extras.  Definitely not how you draw it up, but whatever.  We'll take it.

Let's start with the most important event of last night's game, Bryan Mitchell getting struck in the face with a liner and leaving the game in the top of the 2nd.  It happened with 2 on and 2 out and came off the bat of former Yankee Eduardo Nunez (more from him later), and you could see on replay that Mitchell never had time to see the ball or react to it.  The ball appeared to strike him near the right eye and he went down immediately.  There was a lot of blood, and although he walked off the field under his own power, he did so without removing a towel from his face.  Really scary scene as it always is when that happens, but luckily it sounds like Mitchell is going to be OK.

So with Mitchell gone after 5 outs pitching as the spot 6th starter, the Yankees had a lot of work to do with a short bullpen.  Truth be told, they didn't do a very good job.  Caleb Cotham came in after Mitchell and got hit around in his 2 innings of work.  Minnesota touched him up for 4 runs on 6 hits before he gave way to Chasen Shreve with 2 outs in the 4th.  Shreve got 4 outs and gave up another run to get through the 5th, and then Justin Wilson came on and gave up another run while recording 3 outs.  The Yankees used 4 pitchers to get 18 outs, and they were down 7-5 heading into the late innings.

Those 5 runs came courtesy of Brian McCann, who hit a 3-run home run in the bottom of the 1st to give the Yankees an early lead and a 2-run single in the 3rd to put them briefly back ahead 5-4.  The Yankee bats weren't fooled by Kyle Gibson and were able to provide the offensive support that the undermanned bullpen would need.

Gibson did pitch into the 6th, but a leadoff walk to Mark Teixeira set up the game-tying hit.  Brian Duensing came in from the 'pen and struck out McCann for the first out, then had to deal with the red hot Carlos Beltran.  Beltran got ahead 2-1 and got a fastball in the kill zone that he crushed to left field for a 2-run shot.  After losing 2 leads very quickly, the Yankees fought back to tie things up.

Which put the game in the hands of their best relievers for the last 3 innings; not a bad situation to be in all things considered.  Adam Warren got 2 outs in the 7th and got yanked when he walked Nunez.  Dellin Betances took over from there and pitched through the 9th, needing just 26 pitches to get 7 outs and fan 3.  Andrew Miller got the ball for the 10th and looked like his usual pre-injury self, striking out 2 in a perfect inning and setting the stage for the extra-inning walk-off.

Greg Bird led off the bottom of the 10th, playing for Teix after he left with a leg injury, and smoked a double to right off Twins closer Glen Perkins.  McCann doubled right after him, but Bird had to hold up to make sure the ball wasn't caught and only advanced to third on the play.  This allowed Minnesota to walk Beltran to load the bases and attack Chase Headley and that's exactly what they did.  Headley fell behind 0-2 and hit a routine ground ball to short that should have been an easy out.  But as Yankee fans know, there are no easy outs with Eduardo Nunez and he flubbed the catch.  This caused him to panic and throw the ball to first instead of home to get the runner, and Bird crossed the plate to win the game.  The old walk-off 6-3 groundout.  Gotta love it.

Game Notes:

- Freakin' Nunez, man.  Such an unbelievable play by him if only because it was so typical.  I don't think that actually makes sense, but neither does throwing to first after the botched catch.  What a dope.

- HYYUUUUUUUUUUUGE night for Big Mac, hitting and defensing.  Went 3-5 with 5 RBI at the dish and fell a triple short of the cycle, and threw out 3 of 5 attempted base stealers.  That's big when you're not getting much from the 3-4 hitters in front of you.

- Teix left after walking in the 6th.  He fouled a pitch off his knee in the at-bat and limped around pretty badly before exiting the game.  X-rays were negative after the game and he's listed as day-to-day with a leg bruise.

- Mitchell was taken the hospital for a checkup after he left, and was diagnosed with a hairline nasal fracture.  He's also going to be monitored for a concussion and will likely hit the DL today.  Sucks for him, but it could have been a lot worse.

- I imagine the Yankees will call up 2 pitchers today, 1 for Mitchell and 1 for Cotham.  If I had my choice, I'd take the Nicks, Rumbelow and Goody.  Yanks could add a third if they are concerned about bullpen workloads over the next few days, but with Teix ailing I don't think they can afford to send Bird down.

- Shoutout to Jacoby Ellsbury for a 3-hit night in the leadoff spot.  That's his third straight multi-hit game and 4th in his last 5.

- Also a shoutout to Betances.  16 strikes out of 26 pitches, 6 of them swung at and missed.  When he's on, he's unhittable.