MINNESOTA -- The Yankees have spoken about the impact that Gary Sanchez could provide if he recaptures his form of the past few seasons. An impressive 460-foot homer should help fan their optimism.
Sanchez slugged the longest homer hit at Target Field this season in Monday's 7-2 win over the Twins, reaching the third deck with a sixth-inning drive off Minnesota starter Kyle Gibson. It was Sanchez's 16th home run of the year, his second in the last four games, and one of his three hits on the night.
"I've hit the ball pretty hard all season and I haven't gotten the results I wanted," Sanchez said through an interpreter. "If this is what it takes for me to find a good positive streak here, then why not?"
The moonshot opened scoring and was the third-longest home run hit by a Yankee this season, according to Statcast™, behind only a 471-foot Aaron Judge blast on May 23 at Texas and a 461-foot Sanchez tater on May 4 vs. Cleveland.
"That seemed to get us going," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "We had a hard time breaking through to that point. Gibson was tough on us again; he was really tough on us in New York. That got us rolling tonight."
Sanchez has learned not to look at the scoreboard during his at-bats, ignoring the .189 batting average that is displayed four or five times nightly in thousands of pixels. Instead, Sanchez is focused on the vision of a strong September that will prepare him for October play.
"At this point, any hit is going to give me satisfaction," Sanchez said. "If I'm helping the team, I'll take them all."
Despite entering Monday's game 2-for-17 on the road trip, it has been an eventful ride for Sanchez, who had one of the worst defensive displays of his career on Wednesday at Oakland. That night, he permitted two passed balls and two Luis Severino wild pitches in a nightmarish first inning.
To Sanchez's credit, Boone said Sanchez answered the Yankees' challenge to "compete" and handled his duties well the rest of the game. Boone then lauded his performance behind the plate following an excellent Masahiro Tanaka performance on Friday at Seattle.
Even after two stints on the disabled list with a strained right groin, drives like the one Sanchez mashed off Gibson offer a potent reminder of why the Yankees continue to believe that Sanchez is one of the front-line catchers in the American League.
"I always feel that way with Gary, just because of what I believe he is as a hitter," Boone said. "For all the ups and downs that he's had this year, you always feel like he's a guy that can definitely get it rolling. When he does, from a talent standpoint, he's one of those guys that can carry a club offensively."