Sanchez walkoff homer gives Yanks 4-3 win, sweep of Twins
(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
By SCOTT ORGERA
NEW YORK (AP) Gary Sanchez had a moment he will remember.
Sanchez hit a three-run homer off Fernando Rodney in the ninth inning, and the New York Yankees rallied to beat the Minnesota Twins 4-3 to complete a four-game sweep and extend their winning streak to six.
"It's definitely a very exciting moment," Sanchez said through a translator. "The other special moment for me was when we made it to the playoffs last year, so this one is definitely up there."
New York was held hitless through five innings and trailed 3-0 before Aaron Hicks' sacrifice fly in the seventh. Didi Gregorius grounded to third leading off the ninth and reached second when Miguel Sano's throw went wide for an error.
"I just couldn't complete the play," Sano said through a translator.
Giancarlo Stanton followed with a slow roller gloved by a charging Sano, who did not make a throw as Stanton crossed first with an infield hit.
"That's just a swinging bunt," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "It's one of those plays where he split (Ehire) Adrianza and Sano there. Either one didn't have much of a chance."
Sanchez took a strike, then sent a fastball from Rodney (1-2) down the left-field line and into the lower deck. The Yankees bounded out of the dugout to mob Sanchez as he crossed the plate and doused him with Gatorade.
"If we can get traffic on the bases, we're always one swing away with our guys," rookie manager Aaron Boone said.
New York finished an 8-2 homestand and has outscored opponents 47-13 during its winning streak.
"We've got a lot of fight in here, a lot of bulldogs," Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery said.
Minnesota completed an 0-7 trip, its first winless road swing of at least seven games since Aug. 10-16, 2001. The Twins have lost eight straight to New York, including last year's AL wild-card game, and 13 of their last 14 at Yankee Stadium, counting the postseason.
"I think this is going to build up the character of this team," Minnesota general manager Thad Levine said.
Dellin Betances (1-1) struck out the side on 13 pitches in the ninth for his first win since June 27. The big right-hander struggled to keep from flying open on his delivery during the second half last season and early this year, causing control problems.
"I felt really good," Betances said. "I felt like I was attacking with both pitches today."
Rodney has blown three of five save chances.
"I tried to get a ground-ball double play," Rodney said. "I left the pitch a little bit high in the strike zone."
Eduardo Escobar hit a two-run homer in the third on the ninth pitch of his at-bat against Montgomery. Robbie Grossman, who had three hits, homered in the sixth against Domingo German.
Montgomery needed 76 pitches to get through the first three innings and allowed four hits and three walks in five innings.
Twins starter Kyle Gibson struck out a career-high 10. He was perfect through three innings and didn't allow a hit until Brett Gardner's two-out single in the sixth. Gibson allowed just the one hit in six innings and was removed after 95 pitches.
Escobar was 8 for 22 with two homers and four RBIs on the trip.
RHP David Hale was claimed off waivers from the Yankees after he pitched two scoreless innings for New York in Monday's series opener, then was designated for assignment. Minnesota recalled 6-foot-10 RHP Aaron Slegers from Triple-A Rochester Thursday morning, but optioned him back to the minors following the game to make room for Hale. RHP Tyler Kinley was designated for assignment.
Tyler Austin's suspension was cut from five games to four by John McHale Jr., a special assistant to baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, and the New York first baseman will start serving the penalty on Friday.
New York has homered in 11 straight games, the longest streak in the major leagues this season.
CLIMBING THE LADDER
Betances has 521 career strikeouts out of the pen, passing Dave Righetti (519) for third place on the club's all-time list for relievers.
Aaron Judge walked twice on his 26th birthday and has reached safely in 30 consecutive home games and in all 21 games this month.
Yankees: 3B Brandon Drury (severe migraines) will continue his rehab assignment when Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre returns to action Friday. ... OF Clint Frazier (concussion) was scheduled to play for Class A Tampa on Thursday after appearing in two extended spring training games. ... CF Jacoby Ellsbury (strained right oblique) is taking part in light baseball activities, including hitting off a tee. ... 1B Greg Bird (right ankle surgery) and OF Billy McKinney (sprained left shoulder) are headed to Tampa to continue baseball activity.
Twins: Minnesota returns home for three games against last-place Cincinnati, starting RHP Phil Hughes (0-0, 5.40 ERA) in Friday's series opener.
Yankees: RHP Luis Severino (4-1, 2.32 ERA) starts Friday at the Los Angeles Angels.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
Updated April 26, 2018