|Gleyber Torres striking out in the ninth inning against Minnesota's Michael Fulmer. Photo by Jason Schott.|
The Yankees fell just short of earning a four-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins, as they lost a tight one, 4-3, in the series finale at Yankee Stadium on Thursday night.
This breaks a four-game winning streak for the Yankees, and the loss leaves them with a record of 83-54, and a 4 1/2 game lead (3 in the loss column over the Tampa Bay Rays (77-58) in the American League East. Tampa Bay, who has taken four of their last six against the Yankees, visits The Bronx for a three-game weekend set on Friday night.
The turning point of Thursday night's game was, oddly enough, a replay review. With the game tied at 2 in the eighth inning, and Wandy Peralta pitching for the Yankees, Jake Cave grounded one to first base that Marwin Gonzalez fielded and got it to Peralta, who was making his way to the bag.
Peralta at first couldn't find the bag, and when he did it was unclear he had possession of the ball, as he was juggling it between his glove and jersey.
The call on the field was safe, and the Yankees challenged. When the play was shown on the board, showing just that Peralta's foot beat Cave's to the bag, the crowd roared in anticipation it would be overturned.
The call wound up being upheld, and Yankees Manager Aaron Boone stormed out of the dugout, livid at the call.
Peralta then struck out Kyle Garlick for the second out, but with the right-handed Carlos Correa coming up, Boone turned to Gregg Weissert.
Correa blasted one for a two-run homer to give Minnesota a 4-2 lead. That gave the Twins star his 18th home run and 50th RBI on the season.
The Yankees got one of the those runs back in the bottom of the eighth, as Aaron Judge doubled and came in to score on a wild pitch on ball four to Miguel Andujar when he drew a two-out walk.
Giancarlo Stanton came up next to pinch-hit for Estevan Florial, and was facing left-hander Caleb Thielbar. After working a nine-pitch at-bat and a full count, struck out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the ninth, with Thielbar still in, Oswald Peraza got a one-out single. Minnesota then turned to closer Michael Fulmer, and he was greeted by an Aaron Hicks double into the right field corner.
After Judge was intentionally walked to load the bases, Gleyber Torres struck out, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa grounded out to end it.
Boone was asked about the call on the play at first base in the eighth and how it turned the inning afterwards, and he said, "I think he's out, but they let it stand, it's just how the system goes... I mean, we still had our chances, so just came up a little bit short."
The Yankees had taken an early lead when Miguel Andujar got a two-run homer, his first of the season, in the third inning, off Twins starter Sonny Gray.
|Yankees pitcher Nestor Cortes battling Gio Urshela in the second inning. Photo by Jason Schott.|
Yankees starter Nestor Cortes had a nice outing in his return from a stint on the injured list due to a strained groin. The lefty retired the Twins in order in the first four innings, 12 up, 12 down.
In the fifth, a pair of ex-Yankees turned that around, as Gio Urshela singled, and came in to score on a double by Gary Sanchez.
At that point, Cortes was pulled, and Clarke Schmidt came on and gave up an RBI single to Nick Gordon to score Sanchez and tie it at 2.
Cortes' final line was: 4 innings + 2 batters, 2 hits, 2 runs (earned), 0 walks, 2 strikeouts.
Boone said of Cortes' outing, "I thought Nestor was really sharp, maybe not quite as crisp in that last inning, but I thought he had a great pace, I thought his stuff was really good, thought he used both sides of the plate well, you know, he was cruising there through four innings, so really encouraging to see him throw the ball like that...Regardless of results there (in the fifth inning), I was not going past 60 pitches with him there. I thought he was in a good spot there, but maybe not quite as crisp that inning, because he was fairly dominant in the first four innings, you know, thought he was really on the attack. It was good to see him back and throw the ball as well as he did."
Gray, who pitched for the Yankees in 2017 and '18, went six innings, allowing two runs (both earned) on seven hits and a walk, with seven strikeouts.
DJ To The IL: Before the game, the Yankees placed infielder DJ LeMahieu on the 15-day injured list (retroactive to Monday) with second toe inflammation.
Boone said of the decision to finally place LeMahieu on the IL after resisting it, "Well, just because it hasn't worked well enough. I think everyone's just trying to, you know, hopefully, feeling like this time out, they'll continue to confer on courses of action about what to take or where we can get him to a point to where he's the player we all expect. Playing through it, we haven't been able to get there. Hopefully, this is something, I know they're talking about a lot of different things they could possibly do, we'll see how it works."
On whether LeMahieu's playing through the injury affected it, Boone said, "Well, I don't think it's gotten any worse. I think where it really reared its head was in Boston, whenever that was, three weeks ago, you know, before he had those first few off days because it had gotten to a point to where, you know, he just couldn't bear it. So, he hasn't been at that point anytime since, you know, it's just been sore and I think it's just prevented him from really getting off his swing, you know, and I talk about these guys, they're like race cars. A little something's off prevents you from being that race car. I don't know that it's been worse, but it certainly hasn't gotten to a point to where he can be the guy we know he is."