Win Probability Chart
It was the top of the eighth. Griffin Jax versus Anthony Rizzo, bases loaded with two outs. The Twins were in crisis mode. Sonny Gray had dominated through seven innings shutting the Yankees down 5-0, but it could be an entirely new ball game with one swing from Rizzo. What would happen?
Pitch one; 96 mph fastball, called strike one. Pitch two; 86 mph sweeper, fouled off. Pitch three; 87 mph sweeper; swing and a miss by Rizzo. Crisis averted for the Twins, a 5-0 lead maintained as the Twins went to bat once more in the bottom of the eighth.
Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be the last Yankees rally of the game.
The ninth inning went to Jovani Moran with a 6-0 lead. His struggles showed before an out was made. A walk, a single, then another walk. The nightmares caused Twins fans by the Yankees were awakening once more. However, the baseball gods felt a need to show grace to the Twins just as the nightmare came alive.
First a force out to Jose Miranda at third. One out, but a run scored, 6-1, Twins lead. Then a fly out to Trevor Larnach in foul territory, out number two. Finally, Moran would have a moment of redemption on the mound by striking out former Twins outfielder Aaron Hicks to end the game.
Gray improves his MLB-best ERA
Sonny Gray looked as sharp as ever Monday night against the Yankees. With his command of the strike zone and strong defense behind him, the Yankees couldn’t get any momentum against him.
Gray wasn’t striking hitters out constantly, but averaging a strikeout per inning had him keeping the Yankees hitters in check. His biggest strikeout of the game came against Aaron Judge with two out and a runner on in the bottom of the sixth. Gray retired him on a nasty 83 MPH slider Judge chased outside the zone, and kept the Yankees from chipping at the Twins’ 4-0 lead at a pivotal moment.
Even with a low strikeout total, Gray still had a good number of swings-and-misses which showed his sharpness. The Yankees swung and missed on his pitches 18 times missing on his curveball eight times and cutter seven times. Gray’s seven shutout innings brought his ERA on the season down to 0.62.
Exiting after the seventh, he had the Major League lead for ERA, passing Shohei Ohtani who held the lead going into the night at 0.64.
A Different Approach Against Brito
Last time the Twins faced Yankees starter Jhony Brito he didn’t make it out of the first inning. This time Brito went deeper, but the Twins’ offense took a different approach against him; working his pitch count up early in the game.
Brito faced the minimum in his first inning and only walked one batter in the second, but with Twins hitters working the count in each at-bat, he had thrown 42 pitches through two innings.
Working a high pitch count through two innings paid off for the Twins’ offense as they mustered a bases-loaded threat with no outs in the bottom of the third. With one out and the bases loaded, Jorge Polanco drove in the first two runs of the game with a single to right field.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone had enough of Brito before the third inning was over. Seven of the Twins almost doubled his pitch count at 80 for the evening which resulted in two walks, three singles, a strikeout, and an RBI ground out by Byron Buxton.
No Brito, no problem
Brito’s early exit from the game made no difference for the Twins hitters as the Yankees bullpen would be dealt further implosion from their offense. It began with another Joey Gallo home run, perhaps his most satisfying of the season so-far, which put the Twins up 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth.
The Twins knocked out the Yankees’ first reliever, Greg Weissert, in the next inning with a career-high pitch count at 39 following a two-out single to Larnach. Albert Abreu was next out of the Yankees bullpen. He walked the first two hitters he faced but got out of his jam with a lineout by Christian Vazquez.
The Twins still managed to get Abreu’s pitch count to 15 with just three batters. Only one Yankees pitcher managed to throw fewer than 20 pitches against Twins hitters. Wandy Peralta had a nine pitch, one, two, three, seventh inning. Otherwise, the Twins hitters were cooking Yankee arms all game on the mound.
The Twins last run of the game came from an impressive RBI triple by Carlos Correa. With some luck and a bad read by Yankee right fielder Franchy Cordero, Correa got the big break he needed at the plate in the game to put the Twins up 6-0. His triple made him the last Twin to reach base in the 6-0 victory.
Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet