Gary Sanchez crushes walkoff homer for Yankees sweep
For eight and a half innings on Thursday, the Yankees were mostly overmatched by Twins pitching.
But this is Yankees-Twins, so no matter what happened earlier — the outcome should have been predictable.
And it was, as Gary Sanchez blasted a game-winning three-run homer with no one out in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Twins, 4-3.
It gave the Yankees a sixth straight win as they polished off a four-game sweep of Minnesota.
The winning rally against closer Fernando Rodney started when Didi Gregorius opened the bottom of the ninth by getting to second courtesy of a two-base throwing error by Miguel Sano, who moved from first base to third in the eighth. Giancarlo Stanton then reached on an infield hit to third, with Gregorius staying at second.
Sanchez followed by sending an 0-1 pitch into the seats in left for his first career walkoff hit.
After three straight days of dominating the Twins, the Yankees were handcuffed for most of the day by Minnesota right-hander Kyle Gibson, who didn’t give up a hit until the sixth inning.
The Yankees went 8-2 on their 10-game homestand and now will be tested over the next two weeks, starting Friday in Anaheim.
The game against the Angels begins a 13-game stretch during which the Yankees play four teams that began Thursday either in first place or within a ½ game of first in their division.
Following a trip to Anaheim, the Yankees will travel to Houston for an ALCS rematch before they face the Indians and Red Sox in the Bronx.
The trip to the West Coast will be sweeter thanks to Thursday’s ending.
Jordan Montgomery gave up a two-out, two-run homer to Eduardo Escobar in the third. The home run came on Montgomery’s third straight full count in the inning.
Those were the only two runs Montgomery gave up in his five innings.
But unlike his previous four outings, when the Yankees scored at least seven runs in each game, the lineup came up mostly empty — until the last three innings.
Gibson retired the first nine batters he faced before Brett Gardner walked on four pitches to start the bottom of the fourth. Gibson, though, picked off Gardner at first and then walked Aaron Judge. Gregorius flied to center and Giancarlo Stanton struck out to end the inning.
Gibson entered the game with a 9.31 ERA in six career starts against the Yankees, but only Gardner and Gregorius had faced him before.
Gardner broke up the no-hit bid with a single to center with two outs in sixth. Judge walked again to bring up Gregorius, who had fueled much of the Yankees’ winning streak.
This time, though, the shortstop flied to center to end the threat.
Gibson allowed a hit and three walks, while striking out a career-high 10 in six innings.
Montgomery didn’t give up much, but he was inefficient and needed 98 pitches to get through five innings before he was replaced by Domingo German to start the sixth.
German surrendered a two-out homer to Robbie Grossman to give Minnesota a 3-0 lead. Stanton, playing just his third game in right field in the Bronx as a Yankee, just missed making a leaping grab on the play.
The Yankees broke through in the bottom of the seventh against Addison Reed. Stanton greeted the former Met with a double to the gap in left-center, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly to deep center by Aaron Hicks to cut the lead to 3-1.
A single by Gleyber Torres in the eighth gave the Yankees another chance, but Gardner lined to center and Judge fanned.
That only set up the ninth-inning drama, as Sanchez went deep for the sixth time this season.
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