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Yankees defeat Twins 8-4 in AL Wild Card game, advance to ALDS

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The Yankees advanced to the ALDS with an 8-4 victory over the Twins in Tuesday’s American League Wild Card game at Yankee Stadium. They did so despite getting only one-third of an inning from starter Luis Severino.

Things started poorly for Severino and never got better. He served up a leadoff home run to Brian Dozier, walked Jorge Polanco with one out, then yielded a two-run home run to Eddie Rosario, putting the Yankees in a 3-0 hole before they could blink. Severino put two more runners on base before being yanked. Chad Green came in and stranded both runners to end the first inning, allowing Yankee fans to breathe a heavy sigh of relief.

The Yankees got back all three of those runs in the bottom half of the first against Ervin Santana. Brett Gardner led off with a walk and advanced to third when Aaron Judge singled. After Gary Sanchez fouled out, Didi Gregorius scorched a three-run home run to right field to tie the game up at three apiece.

Brett Gardner broke the tie in the bottom of the second with a home run to right field of his own off of Santana. The Twins re-tied it in the top of the third when a run scored on a Byron Buxton ground out (Buxton eventually left with an injury). The Yankees un-tied it in the bottom half of the third on a Greg Bird RBI single. Aaron Judge finally provided some breathing room, drilling a two-run home run to left field off of Jose Berrios in the fourth, making it a 7-4 game. Aaron Hicks drew a bases-loaded walk in the seventh to account for the Yankees’ eighth and final run.

The unsung heroes of the game, of course, were the Yankees’ relievers. Green gave up a run, but he also got four of his six outs via strikeout, including two to help limit the damage in that sticky bottom of the first. David Robertson pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings, giving up three hits and a walk with five strikeouts. Tommy Kahnle retired all seven batters he faced. Closer Aroldis Chapman worked around a two-out single from Joe Mauer, striking out three batters in the ninth to make the win official.

The Yankees will now face the Indians in the ALDS, which begins on Thursday. Trevor Bauer will start Game 1 for the Indians.

Giants nearing deal with Cameron Maybin

Cameron Maybin
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The Giants are finalizing a minor league deal for free agent outfielder Cameron Maybin, according to Andrew Baggarly and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The team has not confirmed the signing, but it’s in keeping with their stated goal of adding more veteran presence and outfield options to their roster in advance of the 2019 season.

Maybin, 31, appeared in back-to-back gigs with the Marlins and Mariners in 2018. He slashed an underwhelming .249/.326/.336 with four home runs, 10 stolen bases (in 15 chances), a .662 OPS, and 0.5 fWAR through 384 plate appearances for the two clubs, a clear improvement over his totals in 2017 but still shy of the career numbers he posted with the Padres all the way back in 2011. It’s not only his offense that has tanked, but his speed and defense in center field, all of which he’ll try to improve as he jockeys for a roster spot in camp this month.

The Giants’ outfield has been largely depleted of any kind of consistent talent lately, especially taking into account the recent departures of Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco, and Gorkys Hernández. Even with the acquisition of, say, All-Star right fielder Bryce Harper, there’s nothing standing in the way of Maybin and fellow veteran signee Gerardo Parra grabbing hold of full- or part-time roles this year, though they’ll need to outperform candidates like Chris Shaw, Steven Duggar, Drew Ferguson, Mac Williamson, Austin Slater, Craig Gentry, Mike Gerber, and others first.

In a previous report on Friday, Baggarly revealed that a “handshake understanding” had been established with several veteran players already this offseason, all but guaranteeing them regular starting opportunities over the course of the season. How those agreements will be affected by spring training performances remains to be seen, but at least for now, the Giants appear prepared to give their newest players a long leash as they try to get back on top in the NL West.