I think we all need to petition MLB to move the Twins to the AL East next year. The Yankees celebrated America’s freedom by finishing off the four-game sweep of Minnesota on Thursday afternoon, winning the finale by the score of 9-5. Let’s recap the win:
- Five Runs: The Bombers made this one relatively stress-free early on by scoring three runs in the first inning, including two on a single by Vernon Wells (off a righty!). Four of the first five Yankees to bat reached base, with the one exception being a Robinson Cano sacrifice fly. They scored two more runs in the third — Wells doubled in one, Luis Cruz singled in the other — and just like that, they had a five-zip lead.
- Then Four More Runs: The Twins pushed across a run on a Justin Morneau solo homer in the fourth, but the Yankees responded with four more runs in the sixth. Alberto Gonzalez singled in one, Ichiro Suzuki tripled in two, and Zoilo Almonte grounded out to plate another. Ichiro was a homer shy of the cycle as he continues his hot streak.
- Bullpen of Doom: Despite leading by eight runs at one point, Joe Girardi still had to cycle through four relievers — including ace setup man David Robertson — to nail down the win. Joba Chamberlain and Boone Logan faced six total batters and four reached base. Before you knew it, that 9-1 lead was a 9-5 lead. Shawn Kelley and Robertson cleaned things up in the eighth and ninth. Despite carrying eight relievers, the middle innings can still be nerve-racking.
- Leftovers: David Phelps pitched fine, but his line (four runs in 6.1 innings) was uglified because Joba and Logan allowed two inherited runners to score … Travis Hafner reached base four times (single, two doubles, hit-by-pitch) in five at-bats … Almonte, Wells, and Cruz all had multiple hits while Cano, Lyle Overbay, and Austin Romine went hitless … the Yankees had 9+ runs and 13+ hits for the second time in the series after doing it five times in the first 81 games of 2014.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees remain five back in the AL East but are now just one back of a wildcard spot in the loss column. The Orioles are coming to town for another huge three-game weekend series now, the last three games New York will play against a team with a winning record before the All-Star break. Ivan Nova and Miguel Gonzalez is the pitching matchup for Friday night’s opener in the Bronx.