Another loss last night and another waste of a good CC Sabathia outing would have been really bad. Thankfully the Yankees have clutch power hitters like Didi Gregorius in their lineup to hit big late-game home runs. Didi's 3-run shot in the 7th inning was the difference last night, as the Yanks took the first game of this 4-game weekend series against the lowly Twins.
Sabathia wasn't as straight up dominant as he's been in other starts last night. He had to work really hard just to get through the first 4 innings with only 1 run against him. He walked 2 in the 1st inning, loaded the bases in the 2nd, and worked out of a runners on the corners and 1 out jam in the 4th with only the 1 run thanks to 2 strikeouts. He even walked the tightrope in a scoreless 5th, but give the big guy credit. When it was all done he was through 6 innings of 1-run ball.
The Yankees made sure he wouldn't be the tough luck loser this time by tying the game up in the 6th on a pair of singles sandwiched around a Chase Headley double. That could have been much more considering the bases were loaded with nobody out and Jacoby Ellsbury singled in the run on the 4th at-bat of the inning, but I think we've all gotten used to the Yankees blowing those situations.
Didi made sure he didn't blow the next great opportunity in the 7th. The inning started off oddly enough with an Alex Rodriguez infield single and a walk to Brian McCann. Starlin Castro dropped a sac bunt down to move the runners up, and Paul Molitor went to his shutdown lefty Fernando Abad. Didi has been torching southpaws this year and he got a first-pitch meatball that he didn't miss, driving it out to deep right for the go-ahead blast.
Once they had the cushion, the big three took care of business. Just 1 hit, no walks, and 4 strikeouts among them over the final 3 innings.
- What else can you say about CC at this point? He's been the best individual story of the season. 7 strikeouts, 3 walks, a lot of GB outs. Walking the tightrope by trying to work the corners of the zone and making his best pitches to get out of those jams when he needs to. The transformation into late-career Andy Pettitte is complete.
- Big night for Didi. 2 hits, 2 runs, 3 ribbies. That was his 6th home run of the year. He's hitting .280/.314/.411. That's not bad at all.
- A-Rod and Headley also had 2-hit nights. The only other hit was Ellsbury's RBI single. They really weren't doing much against Minnesota starter Kyle Gibson before the 6th.
- Carlos Beltran was back in the lineup and went 0-3 before being replaced by Aaron Hicks late in the game. I imagine we'll see that a lot more as Carlos and Joe try to manage his knee issue.