Gregorius, Sanchez, Yanks top Twins 8-3 for 4th straight win
NEW YORK (AP) — Didi Gregorius leads the major leagues with 27 RBIs and has eight home runs in 22 games, totals matched previously in Yankees history by only Babe Ruth in 1921 and Alex Rodriguez in 2007.
Perhaps with a few more big nights, the promotional people at Yankee Stadium will spell his name correctly.
Gregorius had a two-run homer and three RBIs as New York romped past the Minnesota Twins yet again, 8-3 on Tuesday. During the game, an advertisement board at the ballpark promoted “Didi Gregious Bat Day — May 12.”
“What can I do? I can’t fix that,” Gregorius said with a chuckle. “It’s all over Twitter and all over the place.”
Gregorius hit an RBI single for a 2-1 lead in the third inning and pulled a changeup just inside the right-field foul pole and into the second deck for a 5-1 margin in the fifth, chasing Jose Berrios (2-2). Gregorius had three hits, raising his average to .347, and has homered in three straight games.
“It’s fun to hit in front of a guy like that. I’ve just got to get on first base,” said Aaron Judge, who hit his seventh home run and was a triple short of the cycle.
Gregorius also has 15 walks and a 1.229 OPS. He had 25 walks all of last season and his career high is 37 in 2013.
“Everybody knows that I don’t walk that much,” he said. “I’m learning, try to lay off of those pitches and try to get on base for the next guy.”
Gary Sanchez homered twice as the Yankees went deep four times for the second straight night, and Gleyber Torres had a pair of hits and his first RBI. New York extended a winning streak to four for the first time under new manager Aaron Boone and sent the Twins to their season-worst fifth consecutive loss.
A night after a 14-1 drubbing, New York beat Minnesota for the sixth straight time and improved to 27-9 against the Twins at new Yankee Stadium, including the playoffs.
“I’ve always heard it talked about that the Yankees play well against them, but I think that’s a year-to-year thing,” Boone said.
CC Sabathia (1-0) rarely allowed hard contact in his second start back from the disabled list and gave up an unearned run and two hits in six innings. He is 20-9 in 39 regular-season starts against the Twins.
Dellin Betances entered with a 5-1 lead in the seventh but lasted just four batters, giving up a pair of walks, a hit and another unearned run. David Robertson pitched out of two-on, one-out trouble by striking out Ehire Adrianza and retiring pinch-hitter Joe Mauer on a comebacker.
Judge led off the bottom half with a loud, opposite-field drive to right off Tyler Duffey, brought up from the minors before the game for his season debut. Judge became the fastest in major league history to hit 63 career home runs, doing it in 203 games, four fewer than Mark McGwire.
Sanchez, whose second-inning home run tied the score , hit a two-run drive later in the seventh into the netting above Monument Park in center. Judge, arms crossed, gave Sanchez the silent treatment in the dugout before smiling and patting Sanchez on the helmet.
Berrios entered with 14 consecutive scoreless innings and had 29 strikeouts and one walk in his first four outings. He allowed five runs, six hits and two walks in four-plus innings, raising his ERA from 1.63 to 2.84.
“They’ve got a lot of guys that can do damage in a hurry,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “Everything is kind of magnified when you’re not swinging the bats more on your side, too. You just can’t hold them down and you can’t score. It’s been a bad combination.”
Errors by Judge in right, Neil Walker at first, Torres while covering first and Betances raised the Yankees’ total to 22 in 22 games, tied for the major league lead.
Eduardo Escobar had three hits, a walk and an RBI. Brian Dozier went 0 for 4 after getting hits in Minnesota’s first 17 games — 24 in a row dating to last season.
“As an offensive unit, pressing a little bit too much,” Dozier said. “You’re trying to explode in one kind of swing.”
As the Yankees add new players, Gregorius comes up with additional emojis for his tweets that follow wins. Torres is Baby bottle, Giancarlo Stanton is Volcano and Tyler Austin is Police car. Luis Severino has grown from Baby last season to Child.
A night after going 4 for 4, Stanton had his second three-strikeout game this season to go along with a pair of five-strikeout games.
Released during spring training and re-signed last week, 1B Adam Lind made his season debut for the Yankees’ Class A farm team in Tampa and went 3 for 3 with a double, walk and RBI.
Twins: OF Byron Buxton (migraines) will go to extended spring training after fouling a ball off his left foot Sunday during a rehab assignment with Class A Fort Myers.
Yankees: 3B Brandon Drury (migraines) is on track to start a rehab assignment Wednesday with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
RHP Sonny Gray (1-1, 8.27 ERA), who has totaled just 16 1/3 innings in four starts, is on the mound for the Yankees on Wednesday night, when RHP Lance Lynn (0-1, 6.00) starts for Minnesota. Lynn’s only previous outing against the Yankees was a five-hit shutout for St. Louis in 2014.
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