Yankees rally for ALDS Game 1 victory over Twins

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We saw a variety of different games on this first day of the 2010 baseball playoffs. 

The Rangers routed the Rays in an afternoon tilt with heavy offense and a stellar performance by left-handed ace Cliff Lee.  Then Phillies righty Roy Halladay made history in an early evening contest, stealing the show by hurling only the second postseason no-hitter in a decisive Game 1 victory over the Reds.

As for Yankees vs. Twins, the night cap?  Well, that had everything.

Minnesota’s Michael Cuddyer launched a two-run homer to straightaway center field in the bottom of the second inning and Francisco Liriano kicked off his start with five strong scoreless innings.  The Twins looked confident, Target Field was rocking and the home team carried a 3-0 lead into the sixth frame.

But the Yankees, always primed for a rally, kicked in four runs in the top of the sixth on a series of base hits that knocked Liriano from the game and put the Bombers up 4-3.

The resilient Twins managed three walks in the bottom of the sixth inning against a tiring CC Sabathia, including a bases-loaded free pass that tied the game at 4-4.  Sabathia reached 112 pitches and wouldn’t return in the seventh.  But that’s the last sniff of hope that the fans at Target Field would get.

Enter Mark Teixeira. 

The big first baseman, battling a sore thumb for close to a month, launched a towering two-run homer to deep right field in the seventh inning to put the Yankees back on top 6-4.  That lead would hold, many thanks to a four-out save by future Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera, who threw cutter after cutter in the exact same spot and left the Twins’ final batters hopeless for a comeback.  By our count, Mo broke three bats.

Welcome to the 2010 edition of baseball’s postseason.

Report: Diamondbacks acquire Steven Souza from Rays in part of three-team deal

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Update (6:35 PM ET): This is a three-team deal also involving the Diamondbacks, per Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. The Diamondbacks will receive outfielder Steven Souza from the Rays and second baseman Brandon Drury will head to the Yankees. Lefty reliever Anthony Banda will go to the Rays, Piecoro adds. The Diamondbacks will also receive prospect Taylor Widener from the Yankees, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

Souza, 28, is earning $3.55 million in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility, so the Rays are presumably saving money in moving him. Last season, Souza hit a productive .239/.351/.459 with 30 home runs, 78 RBI, 78 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases in 617 plate appearances. Souza’s arrival almost certainly pushes Yasmany Tomas out of a starting gig.

Drury, 25, has played a handful of positions in his brief major league career. Last year, he played second base in Arizona, batting .267/.317/.447 with 13 home runs and 63 RBI in 480 PA.

Banda, 24, made his major league debut last season, posting an ugly 5.96 ERA with a 25/10 K/BB ratio in 25 2/3 innings. The peripherals suggest he pitched better than his ERA indicated.

Widener, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the 12th round of the 2016 draft. This past season with High-A Tampa, he pitched 119 1/3 innings and posted a 3.39 ERA with a 129/50 K/BB ratio. MLB Pipeline rated Widener as the 14th-best prospect in the Yankees’ system.

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Robert Murray of FanRag Sports reports that the Rays will acquire second base prospect Nick Solak from the Yankees. The Yankees’ return is presently not known.

Solak, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the second round of the 2016 draft. He spent last season between High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, hitting a combined .297/.384/.452 with 12 home runs, 53 RBI, 72 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases.

MLB Pipeline ranked Solak as the eighth-best prospect in the Yankees’ system and the fifth-best second base prospect in baseball, praising him for his ability to hit line drives as well as his speed.