Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

Yankees News

Triple play slows Yanks on rough night for CC

@BryanHoch
July 23, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS -- Edwin Encarnacion knew that he was in trouble moments after the pitch met the barrel of his bat, producing a hard ground ball to third base that would become the 13th triple play in Twins history. For CC Sabathia, the evening didn't improve much from there. After the

MINNEAPOLIS -- Edwin Encarnacion knew that he was in trouble moments after the pitch met the barrel of his bat, producing a hard ground ball to third base that would become the 13th triple play in Twins history. For CC Sabathia, the evening didn't improve much from there.

After the Bombers' budding first-inning rally was snuffed out by the first triple play ever turned at Target Field, Jorge Polanco and Nelson Cruz sparked a five-homer performance by the home team, belting back-to-back solo shots that helped dispatch Sabathia to an early exit in the Yankees' 8-6 loss on Monday.

Box score

"Especially with this team, I was just trying to keep it close enough to keep these guys in striking distance," Sabathia said. "It just wasn't happening tonight."

Sabathia has enjoyed being on the mound for three of the last four triple plays turned by the Yankees, most recently on April 17, 2014, against the Rays, but there was little to relish after Encarnacion chopped starter Martin Perez’s 20th pitch into the glove of third baseman Luis Arraez.

Second baseman Jonathan Schoop and first baseman Miguel Sano combined to complete the 5-4-3 triple play, the second turned in the Majors this season. Perez said he immediately sensed that the Twins might get three outs on the ball, noting Encarnacion’s speed as well as that of Aaron Judge, who was forced out at second base.

"I tried, but they got me," Encarnacion said. "It's one of those plays that's good for them and bad for us. We're trying to build a big inning, trying to create a rally there for us. In one play, it went against us."

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said the momentum shift could have paved the way for the back-to-back homers in the home half of the inning.

"Obviously it gets us out of the inning in a spot where we’re not in the best situation, but it also provides a spark energy-wise," Baldelli said. "I think we definitely used that to our advantage."

Sabathia said he reviewed video of the Polanco and Cruz homers and came away believing that he had made good pitches that were hit hard, particularly his cutter. More difficult to stomach was handing back runs in the third, after Gio Urshela's homer and an Encarnacion RBI single tied the game.

Minnesota brought home three runs in that frame, with a catcher's interference error on Gary Sanchez and a pair of nifty plays on RBI groundouts doing the damage.

"The leadoff walk obviously hurt him, but nothing but soft contact from there," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "[Sabathia] was not quite as sharp as we’ve seen the last few times."

Max Kepler and Mitch Garver tagged Sabathia for solo homers in the fourth, marking just the second time in the veteran's career that he has surrendered four or more homers in a game. He permitted five to Tampa Bay on Aug. 12, 2011.

"Just like our lineup, it's a tough lineup to face," said Sabathia, who had not lost to Minnesota since July 14, 2013. "You've got to be sharp, and I wasn't tonight."

Garver hit his second homer of the game in the sixth off Luis Cessa, the Major League-leading 187th slugged by the Twins. It was the eighth time this season that Minnesota has hit five or more homers in a game, equaling a mark set by the 1977 Red Sox.

"They have a great lineup," Encarnacion said. "They have a great group of young talent with power. There's no doubt about it. We've got to continue what we know how to do."

The Yankees attempted to catch up against Perez, who was knocked for five runs in four-plus innings. Luke Voit and DJ LeMahieu tagged homers off the lefty, and Mike Tauchman closed the gap in the sixth by notching his second career three-hit game with an RBI single.

New York got the tying run aboard with two singles in the ninth, part of their 13-hit performance, but Sanchez struck out to complete an 0-for-5 evening before Aaron Hicks tapped back to the mound.

"There were some good pitches in the zone that I usually connect," Sanchez said through an interpreter. "Right now, either I’ve been fouling those off or just missing those. But we’ve got to keep working. Keep working and find a way to get back on track.”

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.