MINNEAPOLIS — If ever there was a team the Yankees would break out against, they faced that club Tuesday night.
Indeed, the personal Yankees’ punching bag from the Midwest showed up on the schedule just in time.
And, as has been the case pretty much all of this century, the Twins in the opposing dugout led to victory.
Though not especially impressive, the Yankees snapped a four-game losing streak with an 8-4 win in front of 17,949 at Target Field.
"[When] we look back, hopefully tonight was the start of something special," Brett Gardner said.
That, of course, remains to be seen as the Yankees (32-29), even in scoring eight runs for the first time since May 15, went 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11. They did have 14 hits.
Still, the biggest factor in the rebound game may well have been the awful Twins (24-36), who committed four errors in the kind of performance all too familiar when they see the Yankees, who improved to 102-37 against them since 2002, including the postseason.
Two of the errors came in the eighth when the Yankees snapped a 3-3 tie. The first was a wild throw home, trying for pinch runner Tyler Wade, by second baseman Jorge Polanco that made it 4-3. Aaron Judge’s fielder’s choice, and ensuing error on shortstop Andrelton Simmons for pulling his foot off second, led to Miguel Andujar scoring to make it 5-3.
Gary Sanchez’s two-run homer in the ninth, his seventh, made it 7-3 and two batters later, Andujar’s fourth made it 8-3.
"That’s the kind of offense we’ve been waiting for for a while," said DJ LeMahieu, who went 2-for-6 with a double. "We did a little bit of everything tonight. Kind of what we expect."
Jordan Montgomery allowed three runs and eight hits over 5 2/3 innings and the bullpen took it from there.
The Yankees fell behind early. Josh Donaldson, who created a bit of a stir last week in implying that Gerrit Cole, who starts Wednesday night, was among the many pitchers in the sport using illicit substances to aid their pitch movement, reached on an infield single with one out in the first. After Polanco flied to center, Miguel Sano singled and Ryan Jeffers won a nine-pitch at-bat, lining a full-count curveball into the corner in left, the two-run double making it 2-0.
The Yankees loaded the bases with one out in the fifth against former Yankee Michael Pineda and managed two runs, one when the righty walked Judge to make it 2-1 and the other on Jorge Alcala’s wild pitch that brought in Gardner.
Gardner’s sacrifice fly, after the Twins’ second error, briefly gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead in the sixth, but an RBI double in the bottom half by another former Yankee, Rob Refsnyder, tied it at 3-3.
Aaron Boone, in saying "clearly" the Yankees have a ways to go, was pleased with his club’s response after the recent homestand.
"To see us really digging in and competing well, that’s good to see," Boone said.
Cole addresses Donaldson, cheating
Cole, at times appearing uncomfortable during a pregame Zoom conference, discussed Donaldson’s comments and the overall issue of pitchers loading the baseball with sticky substances, which MLB has vowed to crack down on.
"I kind of thought it was a bit of low-hanging fruit, but he’s entitled to his opinion, to voice his opinion," Cole said of Donaldson insinuating, after Cole’s rough outing last week versus Tampa, the ace is among the most prominent of those doctoring the ball. "I have other things that I need to keep my focus on."
Asked point-blank if he’s ever used Spider Tack, one of the substances being used with increased regularity, Cole didn’t help himself with his answer.
"I don’t quite know how to answer that, to be honest," Cole said after a several-second pause. "There are customs and practices that have been passed down from older players to younger players from the last generation of players to this generation of players. I think there are some things that are certainly out of bounds in that regard, and I’ve stood pretty firm in terms of that."