Donaldson, Cruz homers off Chapman lift Twins over Yanks 7-5
By Tyler Mason
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Josh Donaldson and Nelson Cruz hit two-run homers off Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning, and the Minnesota Twins beat the New York Yankees 7-5 Thursday night to avoid a three-game sweep.
Giancarlo Stanton drove a slider off the end of his bat 422 feet for a three-run, first-inning homer off J.A. Happ, Gio Urshela also homered and an all right-handed New York Yankees lineup built a 5-2 lead by the sixth inning.
But Chapman blew a save for the second time in 14 chances. He threw just five of nine pitches for strikes and his velocity was down from his usual 99-100 mph as he allowed all four batters to reach.
Jorge Polanco singled on a 3-1 pitch leading off the ninth, and Donaldson hit a 438-foot homer on a 95.5 mph pitch with a 1-0 count. Willians Astudillo singled on the first pitch, and Cruz homered on the next offering, a 97.8 mph fastball.
This was just the third time Chapman allowed multiple homers in a game, after Minnesota’s Eduardo Escobar and Kurt Suzuki on June 18, 2016, and Philadelphia’s Erik Kratz and Freddy Galvis on May 19, 2013, according to MLB. Cruz had the 14th walk-off hit of his big league career.
Happ, wearing a beard in his post-Yankees career, gave up four runs and eight hits in five innings. He was displeased about being phased out of the Yankees’ rotation down the stretch last year, them signed with the Twins as a free agent.
New York started an all-right-handed batting order for the second time since 1992 — the first was in Saturday’s loss to Boston.
Stanton hit his 12th homer this season and third in two games. A night earlier, Stanton became the first Yankees player in at least 21 years to homer twice in a game on 0-2 counts, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Yankees starter Michael King allowed two runs and four hits in 3 2/3 innings, remaining winless in three starts since replacing injured Corey Kluber in the rotation.
Urshela was thrown out trying to score on an errant pitch in the first inning, the Yankees’ major league high 30th out on bases, including 13 at the plate. Urshela was called safe by plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt, but a video review determined catcher Ben Rortvedt’s throw to Happ was in time.
New York’s Chris Gittens was initially credited with a two-run homer in the fourth for his first big league hit on an-opposite-field drive down the right-field line, but the fair call by first base umpire Tripp Gibson was reversed by Wendelstedt, a decision confirmed by video review.
Aaron Judge moved over from right and made his third start of the season in center for the Yankees.
Andrelton Simmons, a four-time Gold Glove shortstop, lost the ball taking it out of his glove for an error on Gleyber Torres’ potential inning-ending double play grounder in the fifth.
The shorthanded Twins (24-38) started three rookie outfielders and lost another outfielder when Alex Kirilloff sustained a low-grade left ankle sprain in the first inning. Nick Gordon replaced Kirilloff and took over in center field.
Gordon had previously played just one career inning in center in his professional career.
STANTON TO BENCH
Stanton will be limited to a bench role this weekend in Philadelphia, when there is no DH.
“I don’t plan on using him in the outfield yet,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “But it is something that as the summer unfolds and hopefully I’m still very open to having that being in play.”
Yankees: LHP Zack Britton (March 15 surgery to remove a bone spur in left elbow) walked one in a hitless inning for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in his fifth rehab appearance and could be activated this weekend in Philadelphia. … 1B Luke Voit (right oblique strain) could start an injury rehab assignment Sunday or Tuesday, putting him on track to be activated June 22. … RHP Luis Severino (Tommy John surgery on Feb. 27, 2020) is to make his second minor league injury rehabiliation start Saturday, throwing about three innings and 40 pitches. Boone said Severino could be called up before is ready to throw 80-90 pitches in an outing.
Twins: CF Byron Buxton (right hip strain) hit a pair of two-run homers Thursday in his rehab start with Triple-A St. Paul. … The Twins are still deciding if right-hander Kenta Maeda (right adductor strain) will make another rehab start. Manager Rocco Baldelli said it’s “very possible” Maeada’s next start will be in the majors.
Yankees: New York has a rare Friday off before a two-game series at Philadelphia beginning Saturday. RHP James Taillon (1-4, 5.09 ERA) gets the start for the Yankees in the series opener.
Twins: RHP Matt Shoemaker (2-7, 7.28 ERA) takes to the mound Friday for the first game of Minnesota’s series against Houston at Target Field. Shoemaker allowed nine runs (eight earned) and recorded just one out in his most recent start.