What they really wanted is for Aaron (All Rise) Judge to hit one, because it was Judge who had done the most to carry the Yankees to this night, Judge who had done the most to make the Yankees feel as if they matter again, and not just in the Bronx. Starter Luis Severino didn't escape the first inning and that created some multi-inning relief assignments. Certainly, accomplished regular-season players in the past have stalled in the playoffs, and for NY fans, Judge's at-bats will be very assuring.
Five years ago, the MLB added an extra round of the playoffs with two teams now earning a wild card spot from each league instead of the usual one from each league. With two on and a three-run deficit in the sixth, Mauer hit a drive to deep left-field, but Brett Gardner grabbed it on the warning track in the corner. The Yankees faithful had Yankee Stadium rocking and it helped the Yankees to beat the Twins for the fourth time in two weeks. If they get hot at the right time, they have as good of a chance as anyone in the postseason to win it all. Aaron Judge was record setting this season as his 52 home runs are the most ever for a rookie in baseball history. Greg Bird singled home Gary Sanchez in the bottom of the third inning with two outs to give the NY the lead for good.
Severino put the Yankees in a 3-0 hole before he was removed with runners on second and third and one out. They weren't done battering the Yankees' hard-throwing ace, Severino, however. David Robertson was also a huge factor in this win-or-go-home game by throwing three scoreless innings. The Yankees celebrated their way off the field and destroyed their clubhouse with gallons of champagne before packing their bags for Cleveland. Kahnle threw 2.1 innings - that's the second longest outing of his career - and 29 pitches. The victor of this game will take on the Central Division Champion Cleveland Indians on Thursday. He left with one out and the bases loaded in the third, but still got a rousing ovation after striking out four in two innings.
You have to go back to the 2004 divisional round to find a series where the Twins were able to win a game off NY.
Whether you believe Kahnle's dominance was Girardi's cue to keep Dellin Betances fresh for the start of Thursday night's ALDS, or perhaps protect him from imploding in a do-or-die game, Betances was all smiles following the 8-4 win. The Yankees have won the other 13 of his starts in that span, which bodes well for them this evening.
As luck would have it, both starters for Tuesday's game pitched in that series a couple of weeks ago.