Yankees 10, Twins 7: Hicks, Gallo lift Cole in comeback win

Yankees 10, Twins 7: Hicks, Gallo lift Cole in comeback win

You cannot win a World Series in June. This season’s champion will be determined like all the others, through a small tournament in October. The matches played today can only mean a lot in determining who goes home with the trophy.

But you can show real championship courage any day. That’s what the Yankees did in Minnesota, reclaiming their ace one night when it imploded and finding a way to win a game that seemed lost. No, the Yankees haven’t improved their chances of winning the World Series much. They simply looked like the best team in baseball storming to beat the Twins, 10-7.

For all the fireworks that would follow, however, this game started with a pretty crafted run. Aaron Judge worked a one-out walk in the first, then played a hit-and-run, reaching third on an Anthony Rizzo single. Judge was tackled when Josh Donaldson threw a sack volley on the right for a 1-0 lead.

The first lead would be short-lived, as Gerrit Cole’s night quickly went to hell. Luis Arraez led the home half with a shocking solo shot, just his second dinger of the year. Byron Buxton jacked back to back, taking a cement mixer from Cole deep left. Not to be outdone, Carlos Correa followed with a screaming line homer. Three straight home runs dropped by the Yankees horse to start the game.

There was no excuse for Cole in this inning, with all three batters hitting three different pitches, a change, a slider and a cutter in that order, all of which were bright red in the middle. There’s definitely some bad luck involved here; you wouldn’t imagine that every errant pitch will be punished with a home run. But Cole’s order was clearly wrong from the word Go, and the Twins immediately hurt him.

The Yankees had a backlash after that flurry from Minnesota, with Joey Gallo tying the game three with a high-arched two-run homer:

Still, the Twins kept shooting Cole. A single and a walk put it two for Buxton in the second, Cole left another pitch mid-mid, and the result was a crushing three-point bomb.

History repeats itself once again in the third. Cole threw a quad straight down Broadway at Trevor Larnach, one of the left-handed swingers dropped into the seats 441 feet away. Gio Urshela followed that up with a brace to end Cole’s miserable night after 2.1 innings, eight hits and seven home runs.

You can tell the story of this Cole outing with a single graphic:

These are the five homers allowed by Cole, with each pitch representing a run miss. Everyone was a failure and a bad one. But then again, it’s odd that a pitcher with stuff as good as Cole gets penalized with a homer every time he gets it wrong. For example, since 2020, fastballs over 97 mph in the midsection of the zone have been put in play 1,727 times. These batted balls resulted in a wOBA of .337; not a 1,000 wOBA. Here we have an example of a great player making a bunch of ugly mistakes and paying the maximum possible amount for each one.

Lucas Luetge replaced Cole and did a good job of sorting things out. He recorded seven outs, allowing one hit and no runs, steadying the game and working in the fifth. Luetge gave the Yankees a chance to reconnect with Minnesota.

They did just that with a pair of back-to-back home runs. In the top of the fifth, Gallo roped in his second of the game, and DJ LeMahieu followed with his own solo shot, making it 7-5.

And in the next round, perhaps the most surprising thing of a shocking night happened:

Aaron Hicks slammed just his third extra hit of the year, and it was a doozy, a majestic volley down the right field line, tying the game at seven. Playing in Minnesota just seems to bring out Hicks’ strengths.

The Yankees weren’t happy with a tie and retook the lead in the seventh. Judge opened with a double off the top of the wall, and Rizzo drove it in with a single for an 8-7 advantage. Three batters later, Hicks stayed hot with an RBI single to drive Josh Donaldson and swell the lead.

All the while, the Yankees staff continued to stand on their heads raising their ace. Miguel Castro came after Luetge and did his part, going 1.1 scoreless to lead the Yankees through six. Wandy Peralta unbalanced the Twins in the seventh, and Michael King put in a great performance in the eighth. King took the mound with a 10-7 advantage, as the 2021 MVP, throwing wild with a runner in third, appeared at the top of the frame, chasing Rizzo home.

Clay Holmes, currently the game’s top reliever, made short work of the top of the Minnesota roster for his ninth save of the year, and one of the best wins of 2022 was in the books. At first, the Yankees appeared headed for a series loss, one that would have sent them home with a short losing streak and some concern over a rotation that ultimately looked deadly this week. Instead, they’ll be riding high, with the good times continuing despite some tough outings from their top starters.

They’ll look to keep the momentum going tomorrow night against the Cubs with Luis Severino on the bump. This one leaves at 7:05 p.m. See you later.

The score of the box

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