Minnesota 7, NY Yankees 4
When: 2:10 PM ET, Sunday, June 19, 2016
Where: Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Paul Emmel, 1B -
Pat Hoberg, 2B -
Mark Carlson, 3B -
MINNEAPOLIS -- In a lost season for the Minnesota Twins, outfielder Max Kepler is turning into a major bright spot.
The rookie recorded his first three-hit game, stole his first career base and hit a solo home run that turned the tide in the Twins' 7-4 victory over the New York Yankees on Sunday afternoon at Target Field.
Kepler's solo blast in the fifth inning barely cleared the right-field overhang but got the Twins on the board. He also played a starring role in the club's four-run sixth, which turned a one-run deficit into a three-run lead.
"I was hoping for it to go out," Kepler said. "I didn't get all of it but I think I got enough and I was hoping it would stay up. It had enough backspin."
Kepler now has a hit in six straight games and in nine of his last 10, raising his batting average 84 points during that span.
"The more at-bats he gets, the more comfortable he's getting," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "He got the down-and-in slider that would have been a line drive for most people and he got it over the wall."
The big inning also made a winner of right-hander Ervin Santana, who had one of his finest outings of the 2016 campaign. Santana (2-7) allowed three runs - two earned - on six hits in 7 1/3 innings in getting his first win since May 14.
Santana hasn't walked a batter in any of his last three starts, a first in his big-league career. He said the control has come as a part of some small mechanical adjustments he's been working on over the last couple of weeks.
"Just kept the ball down for the most part and got good results," Santana said. "I feel more like myself right now."
Eduardo Nunez and Brian Dozier also had two hits and Eduardo Escobar knocked in a pair of runs as the Twins salvaged the final contest of a four-game series.
Brandon Kintzler got the final four outs for his second save.
Brian McCann had a pair of homers among three hits to lead the Yankees' offense. Brett Gardner added a pair of hits and scored a run.
Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi took the loss, allowing four runs on six hits and a pair of walks in 5 1/3 innings.
The Yankees took an early 1-0 lead on a solo homer by McCann off the facing of the second deck in right-center field. The blast, McCann's ninth, snapped an 0-for-15 skid for the struggling catcher.
Gardner doubled to lead off the fourth and came around to score two batters later when Alex Rodriguez dumped an RBI single into shallow left for a two-run lead.
The Twins cut the lead in half in the fifth on Kepler's scorched line drive that just cleared the overhang in right field for his second home run.
Minnesota got to Eovaldi in the sixth, getting back-to-back one-out soft singles by Dozier and Trevor Plouffe ahead of a broken-bat triple down the right-field line by Escobar. Right fielder Carlos Beltran retrieved the ball and fired home ahead of Plouffe, who slid around the tag of McCann and tapped home plate to give the Twins a 3-2 lead.
Called out on the play by home plate umpire Paul Emmel, Plouffe petitioned Molitor to review the play. The skipper did and was immediately rewarded.
"Initially I thought I was safe," Plouffe said. "I didn't know if caught my jersey but I didn't feel him tag me. I try not to point and say 'challenge it,' because I see guys do that and they're out. So I tried not to but I couldn't help myself. Luckily I was safe."
Kepler followed with a single to shallow center to score Escobar and close the book on Eovaldi.
"Bad luck," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Two jam shots, a seeing-eye ground ball. That's the unfortunate part. They hit one ball hard once that inning. But that's baseball."
After Kepler stole second, Kurt Suzuki kept the inning going by doubling into the left field corner off Dellin Betances for a 5-2 lead.
"I felt good all game," Eovaldi said. "I felt like I made a good pitch to Dozier and he got a bloop hit. Then 3-2 (count) and they're running and Plouffe was able to get the ground ball for first and third. Then Escobar hit a good pitch."
Dozier added a solo blast in the seventh for a four-run advantage.
The Yankees scored one off an error by Plouffe in the eighth inning and had runners on the corners for both Beltran and Rodriguez, who each struck out swinging to end the threat.
Danny Santana got the run back on the bottom of the inning, singling home Kepler following a one-out double.
McCann hit his second homer of the day off Kintzler to lead off the ninth inning.
NOTES: Yankees LHP Chasen Shreve was activated off the 15-day disabled list and optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Shreve had been on the DL since May 26 with a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder. Shreve is 1-1 with a 5.21 ERA in 19 relief appearances with the Yankees this season. ... Twins RHP Trevor May had his scheduled bullpen session pushed back to Tuesday after he did some mechanical work on Saturday. If things go well early in the week, May could return to the Twins without a rehab assignment. May has been on the 15-day disabled list since June 10 because of back spasms. ... New York opens a nine-game homestand on Tuesday with the first of two games against the Colorado Rockies. The Yankees will send RHP Ivan Nova (5-4, 4.77 ERA) to the mound against Rockies RHP Chad Bettis (5-5, 5.63 ERA). ... Minnesota will open a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies at Target Field on Tuesday. RHP Aaron Nola (5-6, 3.51 ERA) is scheduled to pitch for the Phillies against Twins RHP Tyler Duffey (2-6, 5.56 ERA).
Top Game Performances
Team Stats Summary