Home News Joey Gallo, Sonny Gray propel Twins over Yankees as Brito falters

Joey Gallo, Sonny Gray propel Twins over Yankees as Brito falters

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MINNEAPOLIS — The Sonny Gray and Joey Gallo that the Yankees thought they were getting showed up on Monday night at Target Field.

Together, they kicked the Yankees while they were already down.

Gray and Gallo, who served as punching bags for much of their respective tenures in The Bronx before being traded out of town, returned the favor and combined to haunt their old team, lifting the Twins to a 6-1 win over the Yankees.

Facing a recently scuffling Yankees lineup, Gray only worsened its funk as he threw seven shutout innings while striking out eight and giving up just three hits on a chilly night at the ballpark.

Gallo, meanwhile, crushed a 432-foot solo home run in the fourth inning to extend the Twins’ lead to 4-0.

It was his sixth home run in 13 games this season.

The combination made it a painful night for the Yankees (13-10), who lost for the third time in their last four games.

This one again exposed their need for some help in the starting rotation and served as another lackluster night from their offense, which has now averaged just 3.1 runs over its last 12 games while hitting .199 with a .615 OPS.

Jhony Brito struggled and didn’t make it out of the third inning against the Twins.
Getty Images

“We’re the Yankees and we gotta find a way to do a little better than that,” manager Aaron Boone said.

Eleven days after not making it out of a first inning from hell against the Twins (13-10), Jhony Brito had another rough start against them.

Joey Gallo homered for the Twins against the Yankees.
Joey Gallo homered for the Twins against the Yankees.

This time around, he retired six of the first seven batters he faced but needed 80 pitches to last just 2 ²/₃ innings.

He lacked a put-away pitch, giving up three runs and forcing the bullpen to cover 5 ¹/₃ innings in the midst of 16 games in 16 days.

Gray, four-plus years after the Yankees traded him away because he could not cut it in New York, looked untouchable while lowering his ERA to 0.62 across five starts.

He gave up a single to Gleyber Torres in the second inning that was immediately erased on a double play.

Sonny Gray dominated the Yankees across seven shutout innings.
Sonny Gray dominated the Yankees across seven shutout innings.
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Aaron Judge doubled high off the right-field wall with one out in the fourth inning, but he was eventually stranded at third base.

And DJ LeMahieu’s leadoff single in the fifth inning was soon erased by another double play.

“You pitch against former teams, it always has a little bit of a bigger meaning,” Gray told reporters. “You always feel a little bit different going against those teams.”

The Twins' offense helped build an early lead, and the Yankees couldn't replicate the runs.
The Twins’ offense helped build an early lead, and the Yankees couldn’t replicate the runs.
Getty Images

Judge said the addition of Gray’s cutter was the biggest difference from when he was in pinstripes in 2017-18, while Boone said the Yankees failed to make adjustments against him on Monday.

Then there was Gallo, who did not make himself available to reporters postgame.

The first baseman/outfielder was on the injured list last week when the Twins visited The Bronx, but he made his impact felt on Monday, going 1-for-3 with a walk and the second-deck blast off reliever Greg Weissert.

Gallo is now batting .243 with a 1.121 OPS as a Twin, seemingly freed up from the mental toll that his struggles as a Yankee put on him.

“I think it was very tough on him,” Boone said. “It absolutely wore on him. It was the real deal. But I respected how he handled it. He never ran from it, he never wanted out of the lineup. As best he could, he faced it and owned it. I know what a tough time it probably was in his life and the challenges he’s faced, but he had my respect in the way that he always continued to fight and compete.”

Once Gray’s night was over, the Yankees had a chance to get back into the game as they finally put multiple runners on base at the same time in the eighth inning off reliever Griffin Jax.

But Anthony Rizzo left the bases loaded, striking out on three pitches to end the threat.

The Yankees then loaded the bases again with no outs in the ninth inning and finally pushed across a run on a fielder’s choice ground ball by Oswaldo Cabrera.

“Right now, we’re kind of taking a while getting into the game, feeling it and just not doing the job,” Judge said. “So we gotta jump on them early and that starts [Tuesday].”

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