Gregorius hits slam as Yanks extend dominance over TwinsReuters | New York | Updated: 06-10-2019 06:35 IST | Created: 06-10-2019 06:32 IST
Didi Gregorius highlighted a seven-run third inning with a grand slam, and the New York Yankees seized a commanding two-games-to-none lead in the American League Division Series with an 8-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Saturday. The Yankees won their 12th straight postseason game against the Twins dating to Game 1 of the 2004 ALDS. It is the longest winning streak over any opponent in the postseason, and the Yankees are 15-2 all-time against Minnesota in the playoffs.
The Yankees held a 3-0 lead when Gregorius came up against Tyler Duffey. He fell behind 0-2 but fouled off a pitch to stay alive and then sent a 1-2 high fastball into the second deck in right field, tucking the drive just a few feet inside the foul pole. Gregorius appeared to will it fair and then earned a curtain call following his fourth career postseason homer.
It was New York's 12th postseason grand slam and first since Robinson Cano hit one in Game 1 of the 2011 ALDS against Detroit. Edwin Encarnacion hit an RBI single in the first over the leap of shortstop Jorge Polanco, and the Yankees knocked out Minnesota starter Randy Dobnak (0-1) on two singles and a walk. The Yankees extended the lead on Giancarlo Stanton's warning track sacrifice fly and Gleyber Torres' RBI single.
After Gregorius homered, the Yankees added their eighth run when Brett Gardner hit an RBI single off Devin Smeltzer that scored DJ LeMahieu. Mitch Garver hit an RBI single in the fourth inning, and he scored on an RBI double by Luis Arraez in the ninth for Minnesota, which has never overcome a 2-0 series deficit in the wild-card era and dropped its 15th consecutive postseason game
The Twins struck out 14 times and went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position. Sano struck out four times, a night after hitting one of the Twins' three homers. New York's Masahiro Tanaka (1-0) allowed one run on three hits in five innings. He struck out seven and walked one.
The Twins squandered an early chance to go ahead when Eddie Rosario hit a double play to end the first. After Minnesota scored its run in the fourth inning and still had runners on first and second, Tanaka ended the threat by getting strikeouts on Luis Arraez and Miguel Sano. Four relievers followed Tanaka and allowed one run the rest of the way. The game ended when Jonathan Loaisiga struck out Sano.
A week after getting married, Dobnak allowed four runs on six hits in two-plus innings, with two walks and no strikeouts. He was named the starter instead of Jake Odorizzi after the 10-4 loss in Game 1 on Friday. Many fans in Yankee Stadium, aware of Dobnak's background as an Uber driver, directed loud chants of "Uber, Uber" in his direction.