MINNEAPOLIS — So exhilarated and drained was Aaron Boone and his staff after Tuesday night’s regular-season classic they lingered behind in the clubhouse long after the players left.
“The coaches and I just sat around after that game in our uniforms, kind of staring at each other and talking through it,” Boone said Wednesday afternoon. “Just so many amazing individual efforts. It’s one of those that I feel like we’ll be talking about, referencing back to, for a long time.”
The Yankees followed that 5 hour, 3-minute slog not with a classic that will endure or engender much in the way of reflection, but a result just as pleasing for Boone et all.
Hammering Jake Odorizzi from the second inning on, the Yankees, behind another huge night from Didi Gregorius and homers by Aaron Hicks, Gleyber Torres and Edwin Encarnacion, bolted out early then hung on for a 10-7 victory over the Twins in front of 40,127 at Target Field.
The Yankees (66-35) took two of three from the Twins (61-40) in a series that resembled that played in the launching pad known as London Stadium June 29-30.
“Hitter-ish,” Boone said with a smile afterward, asked to describe the series.
The Yankees, who lead the Rays by 10 games and Red Sox by 11 in the AL East, start a four-game set at Fenway Park Thursday night.
"Every time you get a chance to play them [Boston], you get a chance to bury them,” said Gregorius, who followed his 5-for-5, seven-RBIs Tuesday night with a 3-for-4, three-RBI effort Wednesday to finish 8-for-10 in the series. “That's all you want to do, keep expanding the lead."
Through five innings Wednesday the Yankees led 9-7 and the clubs had totaled 18 hits — 11 by the Yankees — and five homers, three by the Twins. The Yankees, who got their third homer of the night in the ninth from Encarnacion — who reached the 30-homer plateau an eighth straight season — outscored the Twins 30-27 in the series and hit eight homers to Minnesota’s 12.
“Two really good offenses that are hot,” said J.A. Happ, who allowed six runs and six hits, including two homers, over 3 1/3 innings.
He still fared better than his counterpart, Odorizzi who fell to 11-5 with a 3.84 ERA after allowing a season-high nine runs and 10 hits, including two homers.
The Twins came in having hit an MLB-best 191 homers, putting them on pace to hit 309, which would shatter the single-season record of 267 set by last year’s Yankees.
“Our guys,” Boone said beforehand of the Twins possibly breaking that record, “are in the midst of a pretty good offensive season themselves.”
The Yankees, after tallying 20 hits Tuesday, had 15 Wednesday.
Nestor Cortes Jr. (4-0) replaced Happ and was terrific, allowing one run and three hits in 3 1/3 innings. Tommy Kahnle came on for Cortes with two on and two outs in the seventh and struck out Miguel Sano, then struck out two more in a perfect eighth. Aroldis Chapman, who blew the save Tuesday, notched his 26th Wednesday with a scoreless ninth.
“They have a great lineup,” Cortes said. “One through nine, they all can hit.”
Eddie Rosario’s two-run shot in the first put the Yankees in a 2-0 hole but Gregorius slammed an RBI double off the top of the wall in right to spark a four-run second that included a two-run triple by Mike Tauchman, who is in a 15-for-29 stretch. By night’s end, Gregorius would have 17 RBIs in his last eight games.
“It was good for me,” said Gregorius, who entered this series in a slump. “I needed that to go a step in the right direction.”
Hicks bombed a 2-and-1 splitter to right to start the third, his 12th homer and second in as many nights. Later in the inning Torres ripped his 20th homer of the season, a shot to left that made it 6-3.
Austin Romine and Aaron Judge had hits in the fourth that preceded Hicks’ RBI single and Gregorius’ two-run triple later in the inning made it 9-3. Happ allowed a two-run shot by Marwin Gonzalez in the fourth that made it 9-5. Cruz’s homer off Cortes in the fifth made it 9-6.
“A battle,” Hicks said of the series. “Every single game was a battle from pitch No. 1 until the end.”