Not even another subpar outing by Sonny Gray could stop the Yankees from beating up on the Twins again.
Gray had Didi Gregorius and the rest of the Yankees’ offense to thank, as the shortstop homered for a fourth straight game and Tyler Austin added a three-run shot in a 7-4 victory in The Bronx on Wednesday for their fifth win in a row.
“I knew once I gave up that two spot in the first … the game wasn’t over,” said Gray, who failed to get out of the fifth inning for a third consecutive outing. “It’s good to have that feeling that if you can keep it there, you know two’s not going to be enough to beat us.”
Gregorius and Austin made sure of that. The shortstop hit a two-out homer to tie the game at 2-2 in the fourth and Austin delivered his blast later in the inning to give the Yankees the lead.
Chad Green got Gray out of trouble in the fifth and Chasen Shreve retired the only two batters he faced to preserve a two-run lead in the seventh.
Gregorius finished the game with a flourish, preventing the tying run from coming to the plate by making a barehanded play and strong throw to get Eduardo Escobar for the final out with Aroldis Chapman on the mound.
“That was a tough play,” Gregorius said. “I had to try to grab the ball with all my fingers because of the wet grass.”
The conditions were once again treacherous, with a foggy mist blanketing the Stadium for much of the game.
None of it seemed to bother Gregorius, who finished with three hits and a pair of walks, as well as an MLB-high 29 RBIs.
Still, all is not well in The Bronx, as Gray was unable to complete five innings for a third consecutive start.
Gray gave up three runs in 4 ²/₃ innings before he left with the bases loaded in the fifth and the Yankees up by three runs. Green came on and got Logan Morrison to pop to third for the final out.
Aaron Boone repeatedly said it was a positive step for Gray, despite the fact the right-hander walked five and has given up 14 runs in 11 innings over his past three outings.
The good news for Gray was that Minnesota’s Lance Lynn was even worse, as the two slow-paced right-handers seemed determined to take a sledgehammer to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred’s desire to improve pace of play.
Gregorius tied the game with two outs in the bottom of the third, when he drilled a shot through the mist down the right-field line for his ninth homer — all of which have come at home. Stanton followed with a single to center, Sanchez with a walk and Austin ripped a laser down the left-field line for a three-run shot to put the Yankees up 5-2.
Gray gave up a run in the fourth, but stranded runners at the corners by striking out Jason Castro and then got Brian Dozier to finish the inning.
Green ran into trouble in the seventh, allowing a run and leaving the bases loaded for Shreve, who struck out the lefty-hitting Morrison and got Robbie Grossman to hit a pop-up near the seats down the first-base line, where Austin made a spectacular sliding catch to end the threat.
Asked afterward about his MVP-type start to the season, Gregorius insisted he’s not interested in his own stats.
“Just where we are in the standings in this division,’’ Gregorius said.
He also is sticking to his belief he’s not a home-run hitter.
“I’m not,” Gregorius said. “I do have a lot of home runs, but it’s not like I’m going out there trying to hit them. I’m not a power guy like [Giancarlo] Stanton and [Aaron] Judge, guys who hit 50 to 60. I try to hit line drives.”
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