Yanks' bats erupt behind Tanaka to rout Twins

April 23rd, 2018

NEW YORK -- The last time these two clubs met, placing their respective seasons on the line for last year's win-or-winter American League Wild Card Game, the Yankees stared at a three-run deficit before their first turn at bat. Unlike that October evening on these same grounds, this outcome never appeared to be much in doubt.
Miguel Andujar continued his torrid extra-base hit streak, Giancarlo Stanton reached the bleachers as part of a four-hit performance and Didi Gregorius hit an eighth-inning grand slam, supporting Masahiro Tanaka's excellent effort as the Yankees rolled to a 14-1 victory over the Twins on Monday evening at Yankee Stadium.

Grand slams mean 40% off pizza
"We're going to hurt you, one through nine," Stanton said. "Once we're all clicking, it's going to be a fun sight."
Behind Tanaka, who stifled Minnesota in front of a crowd of 39,249, the Yankees won their third straight contest. Permitting a run on three hits over 6 2/3 innings, the right-hander retired nine straight through one stretch and was touched only by Brian Dozier's fifth-inning RBI single, which extended the infielder's hitting streak to 17 games (and 24 games dating back to 2017).
"The fastball command was there tonight," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "I think it was there more than any other night, or any other game, this season. Because of having that, I was able to effectively use the splitter and sliders as offspeed pitches."

Tanaka walked two and struck out five, keeping Minnesota in the yard to mark his first homerless effort in five starts. He received swift support as Gary Sanchez roped a two-run double and Aaron Hicks laced a run-scoring single as part of a three-run first inning against starter Jake Odorizzi, who needed 34 pitches to record the first three outs of the evening.
Andujar led off the second inning with his third big league homer, marking the rookie's seventh straight game with an extra-base hit. Andujar -- who also doubled in the sixth -- joined Yankees royalty by placing his name alongside those of Joe DiMaggio (1937) and Mickey Mantle (1955), the only Bombers to enjoy such a streak prior to their 24th birthday.

"It's a big honor. I'm super happy about that," Andujar said through an interpreter. "For my name to be in the same sentence with those guys means a lot. And now, we want to keep doing the same thing. Keep hitting."
Stanton delivered the knockout blow to Odorizzi in the fifth, pouncing on a hanging curveball to mash a Statcast-calculated 435-foot blast into the left-field bleacher area, his fifth homer as a Yankee. The reigning National League Most Valuable Player Award winner added a run-scoring single off Alan Busenitz as part of a three-run seventh inning, which also featured a two-run double by Tyler Austin.

Gregorius' second career grand slam came off Tyler Kinley, two batters after top prospect Gleyber Torres collected his first Major League hit, a single to center field.
"I think the weather has something to do with it," Gregorius said. "It's getting warmer. We're getting warmer, too. We're getting hot. Everybody is doing what they're supposed to do. That's what you want from everybody. That's one thing that keeps us going. Everybody is feeding off each other, staying positive and playing the game the right way."

Stanton's fifth-inning homer was a jaw-dropping drive, coming off the bat at 115.7 mph and traveling a Statcast-calculated 435 feet, but manager Aaron Boone seemed just as impressed by the slugger's first-inning plate appearance. New York had Brett Gardner at second base with two outs, and Stanton battled back from an 0-2 count to work a walk that helped key a three-run first inning, with RBI knocks by Sanchez and Hicks.

"Tonight was a great night, up and down," Boone said. "Quality at-bats kicking it off in the first. Man on second, 0-2 count, two outs. Three runs get put on the board just because guys keep having quality at-bats and grinding through it. Masa took it from there. Just a good all-around night, all around."
Andujar is one of four players his age (23 years, 52 days) or younger to have a seven-game extra-base hit streak over the last 20 seasons. He has joined Cody Bellinger (seven games in 2017), Corey Seager (seven games in '16), Freddy Freeman (10 games in '12) and Albert Pujols (seven games in '01).
"I've seen it since I was with him in Low-A Charleston," Aaron Judge said. "The guy can hit, hit for power, hit to all fields. It's fun to watch. ... At a young age when I played with him in Charleston, he was pretty young for that league, but he was just consistent every day. If he was 4-for-4 or 0-for-4, he had this demeanor about him that he was always the same. He went out to play every day."

At 21 years and 131 days, Torres was the youngest Yankee to notch a hit since Melky Cabrera (20 years, 338 days) did so on July 15, 2005, at Boston. Torres went hitless in his first seven at-bats after making his debut on Sunday vs. Toronto.

"The first day, I really wanted to make the first base hit, but I waited for today," Torres said. "Every at-bat, I'm getting more comfortable."
Left-hander CC Sabathia (0-0, 2.70 ERA) draws the start in Tuesday's 6:35 p.m. ET contest as the Yankees continue their four-game series against the Twins. It will be Sabathia's second start since coming off the disabled list following a right hip strain; he received a no-decision in his return last Thursday, allowing two runs (none earned) over 4 1/3 innings to the Blue Jays. Right-hander Jose Berrios will start for Minnesota.