Yankees bulldoze Twins 8-2 with grand slam in ALDS Game 2

Didi Gregorius
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The Yankees continue to dominate the American League Division Series on Saturday, capturing their second straight win by a score of 8-2 over the Twins. They have a decent chance of wrapping the whole series on Monday, as they stand to make a clean sweep with just one more win.

Masahiro Tanaka led the charge for the Yankees, striking out seven of 19 batters and allowing just one run on three hits. He held the Twins scoreless for three innings, briefly losing control of the game in the fourth after walking Nelson Cruz and allowing back-to-back singles to Eddie Rosario and Mitch Garver, the latter of whom converted his into Minnesota’s first run. The All-Star righty recovered with a hitless fifth, however, and the Yankees’ bullpen continued to keep the Twins off the basepaths with another three straight innings of one-hit ball.

It wasn’t just poor hitting and missed opportunities that led to the Twins’ 12th straight postseason defeat against the Yankees, however. As MLB.com’s Do-Hyoung Park pointed out, their batters received previous few hittable pitches over the course of the evening:

The Twins’ own pitching, meanwhile, couldn’t keep the Yankees’ loaded lineup at bay for long. Starter Randy Dobnak was forced out of the game after just 2 1/3 innings, during which he recorded four runs, two walks, and zero strikeouts. He was pulled in the middle of a disastrous third inning, not only allowing three straight baserunners, but watching his replacement — right-hander Tyler Duffey — give up back-to-back runs to Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres.

The worst was still to come: Didi Gregorius clubbed a grand slam, knocking in another four runs to give the Yankees a 7-0 boost — and complete control of the game. Another base hit from Brett Gardner pushed the score to 8-0 by the end of the third, and even taking the Twins’ shutout-snapping RBI and brief ninth-inning rally into account, it was enough of a cushion to enable the Yankees to coast the rest of the way.

The clubs still have to wait until Monday to decide a winner, when the series pivots to Minnesota for Game 3. If the Yankees fail to pull off a sweep, they’ll push the ALDS to its fourth game on Tuesday, with a potential tie-breaking Game 5 back in New York on Thursday.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.