NEW YORK (AP) — Gary Sanchez homered twice and the New York Yankees overcame their latest injury, beating the Minnesota Twins 6-3 on Friday night after starter James Paxton exited early with soreness in his left knee.
Already with 13 players on the injured list, the Yankees said Paxton will have an MRI on Saturday.
Gleyber Torres and Luke Voit each hit an RBI single for New York, which improved to 1-5 against teams that currently have a winning record.
Minnesota (19-11) entered with baseball’s best record for the first time since September 2010 but again fell flat in the Bronx with a sloppy performance. Nelson Cruz connected for a two-run homer in the eighth inning, but by then the Twins were well on their way to their eighth straight regular season loss at Yankees Stadium, and 13th in 14 games.
They are 14-51 in the Bronx since 2002 — including the playoffs.
The oft-injured Paxton, acquired from Seattle in an offseason trade to be a front-end starter, lasted only three innings on a nippy, 51-degree night. He threw 32 of 64 pitches for strikes and left leading 2-1.
Jonathan Holder (2-0) tossed two perfect innings before Adam Ottavino and Tommy Kahnle each worked a hitless inning. Aroldis Chapman got three outs for his sixth save in seven chances, aided by Torres’ nice play at shortstop in finishing a four-hitter.
Sanchez launched a 428-foot shot off Kyle Gibson (2-1) leading off the fifth and lined a laser to left field against birthday boy Mike Morin for his 10th home run in the seventh.
It was Sanchez’s 12th multihomer performance in 284 major league games, second only to Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner, who had 12 in his first 282 career games.
Sanchez’s second solo drive of the night left his bat at 118.3 mph. He joined teammates Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, along with Mets rookie Pete Alonso, as the only players with a 118-plus mph home run since MLB’s Statcast began tracking in 2015.
Twins: Miguel Sano (right heel laceration) is moving from Class A Fort Myers to Double-A Pensacola on his rehab assignment, but manager Rocco Baldelli said there’s still no “hard date” for the third baseman’s return. Sano will advance to Triple-A as well before joining the Twins. “The early returns are good,” Baldelli said. “We’re looking for just good, steady progress.”
Yankees: 3B Miguel Andujar (shoulder) is set to come off the injured list Saturday, and the team hopes INF DJ LeMahieu (right knee inflammation) will return to the lineup as well. OF Clint Frazier (sprained left ankle) is scheduled to follow on Monday, when CF Aaron Hicks (lower back strain) could begin a rehab assignment with Class A Tampa. ... Frazier was headed to Pennsylvania for a two-game rehab stint with Double-A Trenton. ... New York will likely use Andujar at designated hitter quite often, especially at first. Gio Urshela, a smooth fielder, has filled in nicely at third base. ... SS Troy Tulowitzki aggravated his left calf strain Wednesday night in his second rehab game with Tampa and will probably be shut down for a week, manager Aaron Boone said. ... RF Aaron Judge (left oblique strain) is not ready to begin baseball activities yet. ... SS Didi Gregorius (Tommy John surgery) is doing really well, according to Boone, and potentially a couple of weeks from starting a rehab assignment.
Twins RHP Jake Odorizzi (3-2, 3.34 ERA) starts Saturday afternoon against Yankees LHP J.A. Happ (1-2, 4.68), who is coming off seven shutout innings at San Francisco. Odorizzi, who threw seven scoreless innings last time out versus Houston, took a no-hitter into the eighth against the Yankees at home last September.