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.