Saturday, June 18, 2016

Beltran and A-Rod Homer, Lead Yanks to 7-6 Comeback Victory

     Looking to make it three in a row and get back to .500, the Yankees faced the Minnesota Twins at Target Field in game three this afternoon. Michael Pineda took the ball for New York today, sporting a 3-7 record and a 5.88 ERA. Pineda has been excellent in his last three starts, making some minor changes to his delivery which has led to a much sharper slider and better fastball control. For the Twins, Ricky Nolasco and his 5.17 ERA led the charge against New York. With Nolasco slinging a slider as well, the sweeping breaking ball would be a feature pitch on both sides of the ball all afternoon.
     Michael Pineda has definitely allowed opposing teams to score runs during the day this season, pitching to a league worst 7.89 ERA during day games. Minnesota proved to be no exception as they kicked the scoring off in the bottom of the second where Pineda served up a one out double to Max Kepler. Two batters later, Edoardo Escobar smacked a single up the middle that scored Kepler and gave the Twins a one run lead. And then in the bottom of the fourth, after allowing a one out triple to Brian Dozier, Pineda threw a room-service fastball to rookie Korean slugger Byung Ho Park that was deposited into the seats, making it 3-0 Twins.
     The Twins knocked Pineda out of the ballgame in the bottom of the sixth, where he was pulled with runners on first and third. Relief pitcher Anthony Swarzak immediately allowed a fly ball to short centerfield that was caught by Jacoby Ellsbury. Dozier did score on the sacrifice fly but Kepler was thrown out trying to advance to second base. Because Pineda was responsible for Dozier, he was credited with that run and ended up with a final line of 5.1 innings pitched, allowing four runs on six hits and tying a season high mark of nine strikeouts.
     The Yankees put runners on base all game long against Nolasco but didn't attempt their comeback until the top of the seventh. Carlos Beltran led off the frame with a single and scored when Alex Rodriguez launched his eighth longball of the season, an opposite field shot to right center that pulled the Bombers to within two. Nolasco was lifted to begin the top of the eighth and departed with a final line of seven innings pitched, allowing two runs on eight hits while striking out five. Carlos Beltran then tied the game when he launched the Yankees second two run opposite field homer of the game off of right-handed reliever Kevin Jepsen.
     After Andrew Miller worked a scoreless eighth, the fourth Twins reliever Fernando Abad led off the ninth by loading the bases. Abad walked Headley, allowed an infield bunt single to Didi Gregorius and intentionally walked Rob Refsnyder. Abad was then lifted for Presley, who gave up the lead when he served up a one out single to Jacoby Ellsbury that scored Higley and Gregorius and put the Yankees on top 6-4. Brett Gardner then put the seventh Yankee run on the board when he hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield that scored Refsnyder, 7-4, and would prove to be a most important insurance run.
     Aroldis Chapman made the game interesting before locking down the Yankees third straight victory. After striking out the first two he faced, Chatman then served up back to back homeruns to Escobar and Suzuki that pulled the Twins to within one. But, the Cuban Missile would get out of it when he got Trevor Plouffe to ground out to end the game.
     Here's to hoping the Pinstripers can lock down their second four-game sweep of the month in tomorrow's fourth and final game, with first pitch scheduled for 2:05 PM ET.
   

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