Gibson gives up a home run

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Yankees take first game of series from Twins at Target Field

Bullpen rocked following solid start by Gibson

September 11, 2018 - 4:15 am

   MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Gary Sanchez was struggling since coming off the disabled list, and the New York Yankees were off to a so-so September start.

   Facing the Twins seems to be a cure-all.

   Sanchez had three hits, including a mammoth home run, J.A. Happ tossed six shutout innings and the Yankees continued their mastery of the Twins with a 7-2 win on Monday night.

   Could his first three-hit game since April 16 be a turning point for the catcher hitting .189?

   "I've hit the ball very hard all season and I haven't got the results I wanted. If this is what it takes for me to find a good streak here or a good positive streak, yeah, why not," Sanchez said through an interpreter.

   New York has beaten Minnesota nine straight times, including last year's wild card game, outscoring the Twins 66-23. The Yankees are 20-4 in the teams' meetings since July 25, 2015.

   The Yankees, 5-4 in the season's final month, increased their lead over idle Oakland to three games for the first AL wild-card spot.

   Happ (16-6) allowed six hits and struck out three. Acquired from Toronto on July 26, the left-hander has allowed two or fewer runs in six of eight starts for New York, going 6-0 with a 2.70 ERA.

   "I ran into a couple outings before I came over where I really wasn't getting strike one as much as I needed to," he said. "Tonight, I felt like I was ahead in the count a lot and kind of forced them to be aggressive and swing."

   Kyle Gibson (7-13) allowed four hits and one earned run in 5 2/3 innings. He was one batter away from tossing six shutout innings before Sanchez crushed low 2-2 fastball 460 feet into the third deck in left field.

   "We've talked before about a guy's sweet spot, and some guys like the ball down and that's probably on the fringe of where he likes the ball the most," Gibson said.

   Before the bomb, Sanchez was 3 for 29 since coming off the disabled list on Sept. 1.

   "You always feel like he's a guy that can get it rolling, and when he does, he's, from a talent standpoint, one of those guys that can carry a club offensively," manager Aaron Boone said.

   New York's first eight batters reached base in a six-run seventh. Miguel Andujar had a two-run double and later scored on a double by Giancarlo Stanton, who had been in a 3-for-35 slump. Didi Gregorius doubled home Stanton.

   New York was 5 for 17 with runners in scoring position after going 4 for 35 in its previous six games.

   "Finally, a lot of really good at-bats to kind of break that game open. It was something I feel like we needed and glad that a lot of guys had a hand in it," Boone said.

   Twins left fielder Johnny Field made a sliding grab in the fifth to rob Andujar of a hit and save two runs. Third baseman Andujar returned the favor in the bottom of the inning, snaring a sharp liner by Field.

   Miguel Sano missed his fifth straight game with lower left leg issues - including a sore knee that he sustained sliding into second base last Tuesday, while Tyler Austin went through hitting drills and took batting practice but missed his fourth straight game with a stiff back.

   The Twins send Tyler Duffey (1-2, 9.00) to the mound for his first start of the season on Tuesday against New York's Sonny Gray (10-8, 4.69).