MINNEAPOLIS (CBSNewYork/AP) — Didi Gregorius drove in three more runs with two of New York’s nine extra-base hits, and the Yankees clobbered Minnesota’s pitching once again in a 10-7 victory over the Twins on Wednesday night.
Aaron Hicks, Gleyber Torres, and Edwin Encarnación each hit solo home runs for the Yankees, who outscored the Twins 30-27 to win this three-game series and turned Target Field into a private batting cage with a total of 48 hits, half of them for extra bases.
After ravaging Twins relievers during a split of the first two games, the Yankees turned on All-Star starter Jake Odorizzi (11-5) this time. He finished four innings, with 10 hits, nine runs and two walks allowed.
Gregorius was reportedly not pleased when he was given the first game of the Twins series off for rest. The Yankee shortstop took that frustration out on Minnesota in a savage display over the last two nights. Gregorius went 8-for-10 with 10 RBI in his two starts and hit an RBI double to ignite a four-run second.
Mike Tauchman added a two-run triple before the inning was over. The rookie outfielder has been red hot of late, hitting .500 in July.
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) July 25, 2019
Eddie Rosario, Marwin Gonzalez and Nelson Cruz each homered for the Twins, who also got a big boost from rookie Devin Smeltzer’s five innings and one run allowed that helped them stay within striking distance.
But after forcing the exit by Yankees starter J.A. Happ with only one out in their three-run fourth, the Twins tailed off against the bullpen and saw their lead in the AL Central over surging Cleveland drop to two games, the smallest since May 5.
Happ delivered yet another disappointing performance in his first full season in the Bronx. After being handed a 9-3 lead in the fourth, the lefty surrendered another three runs and exited after just 3 1/3 innings. Happ’s ERA now stands at a dreadful 5.23 this season.
Nestor Cortes Jr. (4-0) picked up the victory after being recalled from Triple-A, Tommy Kahnle stranded two runners when he entered to finish the seventh inning, and Aroldis Chapman pitched a hitless ninth for his 26th save.
The Yankees will take an 11-game lead over the rival Red Sox as they head into Boston to finish their road trip.
Producing an encore in the series finale that matched the entertainment value of the first two games was going to be awfully difficult, but the sellout crowd of 40,127 — the largest since the 2016 home opener — was still treated to plenty of action.
Encarnación’s homer off Smeltzer in the ninth came after he painfully fouled a ball off the top of his left foot. He was grimacing as he gingerly jogged around the bases for his 17th home run at Target Field. It marked his eighth straight year with at least 30 home runs and he’s tied with Salvador Pérez for the most by a visiting player in the 10-year history of the ballpark.
30 trips around the bases for the 🦜. pic.twitter.com/71zF4HJrYF
— MLB (@MLB) July 25, 2019
With Gary Sánchez going on the injured list with a strained left groin , the Yankees were also without LF Brett Gardner for the fourth straight game because of a sore left knee, still favoring precaution. Tauchman, conveniently, is 8 for 15 with seven runs and five RBIs over those four games in his place.
RHP Masahiro Tanaka (7-5, 4.00 ERA) pitches the opener of the four-game series in Boston on Thursday night. RHP Rick Porcello (8-7, 5.61 ERA) takes the mound for the Red Sox, who are in third place, one game behind Tampa Bay.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)