Extra-inning game goes Yanks’ way for a change

Extra-inning games have not been a Yankees strength this year despite their excellent bullpen. Before Monday night, they had a 2-7 record after regulation, including 1-5 at Yankee Stadium. Thanks in part to former Yankees infielder Eduardo Nunez, the Bombers pulled out an 8-7, 10-inning victory over the Twins, who had 16 hits in the game.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi expected Monday night to be a bullpen game with Bryan Mitchell starting, but it became that literally after the righthander was knocked out of the game in the second inning with a liner hit by Nunez that struck him in the face and left him with a broken nose.

Girardi used seven relievers to get through the game with the last three — Adam Warren, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller — doing their customary first-rate work to control the swing-happy Twins.

The Yankees had squandered a 3-0, first-inning lead achieved on Brian McCann’s 21st home run but came back from a 7-5 deficit in the sixth on a two-run homer by Carlos Beltran (No. 13), who has gotten quite a few big hits lately, including a game-winning, three-run blast last Friday night at Toronto.

McCann had a huge night for the Yankees with three hits and five RBI. He also threw out three runners attempting to steal second base. Mac put the Yankees ahead, 5-4, in the third with a two-run single, but solo home runs by Aaron Hicks in the fourth off Caleb Cotham and Trevor Plouffe in the fifth of Chasen Shreve moved the Twins in front again, and they added another run in the sixth on a two-out, RBI single by Plouffe off Justin Wilson.

Once the Yankees tied it at 7, the bullpen limited Minnesota to one hit over the final four innings, including retiring the last six Twins batters in succession, four on strikeouts.

Twins closer Glen Perkins came on in the 10th and gave up a leadoff double to rookie Greg Bird, who had entered the game in the sixth inning as a pinch runner for Mark Teixeira, who came out of the game with a bruised left shin the result of fouling a ball off it (x-rays were negative).

McCann continued his hot night with a double off the glove of left fielder Eddie Rosario. Bird had to hold up to see if the ball would be caught and was stopped at third base. Brendan Ryan ran for him after Beltran was walked intentionally to load the bases.

Twins manager Paul Molitor inserted Eduardo Escobar in place of right fielder Torii Hunter and stationed him as part of a five-man infield. Chase Headley hit a hard grounder that Nunez failed to handle cleanly. He threw to first base, even though a throw home was the only chance to keep the game alive for Minnesota. Ryan crossed the plate without a challenge.

The victory increased the Yankees’ lead in the American League East to one game over the Blue Jays, who were not scheduled, and stayed four games up on the Orioles, who won their fourth in a row at home against the Athletics.

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