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New York Yankees Reaction: Bullpen Superb In Securing Series Opener (Highlights)

In a tight series opener in the Bronx, the New York Yankees hung on to defeat the Minnesota Twins to move back to .500.

  • Minnesota Twins: 3 (23-50)
  • New York Yankees: 5 (36-36)
  • American League, FINAL, Box Score
  • Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY

No one on this New York Yankees roster resembles Mickey Mantle, whose face was on triple crown bobbleheads handed out at the stadium, but collectively the offense did just enough to top the Minnesota Twins on Friday night.

A pair of runs in the third and fourth innings, respectively, backed ace Masahiro Tanaka, who was not his vintage self yet delivered a quality start nonetheless to pick up a victory. The right-hander allowed three earned runs and struck out seven over six frames.

Two-out runs were the name of the game in the bottom of the third as Carlos Beltran doubled in Brett Gardner, who motored around from first to score, and Alex Rodriguez followed with an RBI single to tie the game at two.

After the Twins took the lead in the top of the fourth on a Byron Buxton run-scoring groundout, the Yanks had a direct answer in the bottom half. Loading the bases with no one out, they received a sacrifice fly from Austin Romine and an eventual two-out RBI base knock from Rob Refsnyder to pull ahead.

The combination of Tanaka and the three-headed monster would not relinquish that lead. After the right-hander completed six, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller completed strong 1-2-3 innings in the seventh and eighth to set the stage for Aroldis Chapman, who was aided by some insurance.

Aaron Hicks left the yard with a solo shot off Buddy Boshers in the eighth inning to provide that breathing room and give the Bombers a 5-3 advantage.

While the homer provided comfort, Chapman needed no comfort. He overpowered the Twins, striking out the side on 11 pitches to seal the deal and earn his 14th save.

With the win, the Yanks improved to 4-1 against Minnesota thus far in 2016 and moved back to .500 at 36-36. They remain in the mix and hover around respectability, but have yet to seize the moment and surge well into the promise land.


Tonight featured arguably the best version of the three-headed monster since its formation. Nine up, nine down, five strikeouts, and overall a magnificent job of holding a lead.

Aroldis Chapman was particularly exceptional on the mound, displaying the liveliest fastball since his return from suspension.

The numbers say a lot, but the Twins batters were simply overmatched. Fittingly enough, he shut the door with a perfect 90 MPH off-speed pitch that froze Kurt Suzuki.

Any questions regarding the flame-thrower’s effectiveness were put to bed, at least for tonight.

What’s Next?

The Yankees will look to get back above .500 tomorrow afternoon when they battle the Twins in the middle game from the Bronx.

Michael Pineda (3-7, 5.82 ERA) will take the ball for New York opposing Ervin Santana (2-7, 4.83 ERA).

Pineda’s last start came in the Yankees’ come-from-behind win over the Twins this past Saturday at Target Field. In the ballgame, the right-hander struck out nine while allowing three earned runs over five and a third innings in a no decision.

Santana was on the mound the following day, securing the only win for Minnesota on the four-game set. He fired seven and a third strong innings, allowing six hits and two earned runs while striking out four. The 33-year-old did not walk a batter in the stellar performance.

The game will feature the return of Mark Teixeira from the disabled list as the first baseman will attempt to overcome an articular cartilage tear without surgery.

First pitch will commence at 1:05 pm ET from Yankee Stadium. The game can be seen on WPIX and MLB Network (out-of-market), and heard on WFAN 660/101.9 FM.

NEXT: With Teixeira In, Who Is Out?