New York Yankees' Aroldis Chapman makes quick work of Minnesota Twins

By Larry Fleisher, The Sports Xchange
Aroldis Chapman. (Instagram)
Aroldis Chapman. (Instagram)

NEW YORK -- The first 10 pitches coming out of Aroldis Chapman's left hand were more than 100 miles per hour. The last one was an "off-speed" pitch at 91 mph.

It was an electrifying way for the New York Yankees to get back to the .500 mark yet again.


Chapman capped an overpowering ninth inning by striking out Kurt Suzuki and the Yankees defeated the Minnesota Twins 5-3 on Friday.

"Outstanding is the only word I can think of," Masahiro Tanaka said through a translator. "It really felt faster than usual."

The Yankees (36-36) reached the .500 mark for the fifth time since May 24, had a lead after Rob Refsnyder's RBI single in the fourth and took the lead into the seventh when Tanaka didn't relinquish it by allowing three runs and seven hits. Those factors enabled the Yankees to turn it over to their late-inning trio of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Chapman for the 11th time in the same game.


And the Yankees remained unbeaten when those three pitch as they only needed a combined 35 pitches to retire the final nine hitters. Betances and Miller didn't have the electric innings as they combined to get two strikeouts, two groundouts and a foul pop up.

Shortly after the flames next to Chapman's name appeared on the scoreboard, the show of velocity began.

"Definitely, I'm aware," Chapman said through a translator. "I can feel the energy of the fans once I make a pitch. It's something that you can see and you can feel."

Facing Eduardo Escobar, who homered off him last weekend on a breaking pitch, Chapman got three swings and misses at 101, 102 and 102.

"One, Two and three are you kidding me?" Escobar said.

Then he faced Byung Ho-Park and got him to look at a pitch clocked at 103, foul off another 103 mph offering before getting the strikeout at 102. Chapman then threw four straight pitches at 103 mph to Suzuki but after three straight foul balls, he ended his 14th save in 15 opportunities by getting the Twins catcher to look at a 90 mph changeup.

"He got the best of me," Suzuki said. "It's pretty tough when a guy throws a hundred and he throws a 90 mile per hour changeup. Good pitch."


The Yankees improved to 33-0 when leading after eight and it was the second straight perfect outing for the trio.

"It's hard to take your eyes off it it," Miller said. "It's just an impressive feat of athleticism, I think."

"What he did today is impressive," Betances said. "He's throwing 102, 103 and then he drops a 90 mile per hour changeup to freeze Suzuki. He's an animal."

Before getting the game to their trio, the Yankees rallied from a 2-0 deficit by capitalizing on an error by Escobar at shortstop in the third.

After Escobar booted a grounder by Austin Romine, Brett Gardner scored an unearned run on a double by Carlos Beltran against Tommy Milone (0-2). Beltran then scored on a single by Alex Rodriguez.

The Twins took a 3-2 lead in the fourth on a groundout by Byron Buxton but a rare error by Joe Mauer kept the inning going and the Yankees tied the game on a sacrifice fly by Romine and went ahead on Refsnyder's bloop single to left field.

Aaron Hicks added insurance with an eighth-inning home run before Chapman came out.


"It's pretty cool, definitely fun, especially when you know you're going look up and see how hard he threw," Hicks said. "I always do that. When a guy throws 103 mph five pitches in a row, that's pretty cool."

The Twins (23-50) tied a season high by making three errors and became the first team in the majors to reach 50 losses. They held a 2-0 lead on Eduardo Nunez's two-run single in the second but were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and compounded things for Milone with those misplays as the left-hander allowed four runs (one earned) and six hits in 3 2/3 innings during his first major league start since May 3.

NOTES: 1B Mark Teixeira is expected to be activated by the Yankees Saturday after missing three weeks with a right knee injury. Teixeira appeared in three rehab games with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre before having Friday off. ... Minnesota 3B Trevor Plouffe (mild right groin strain) missed the game but thinks he will avoid the disabled list. He said after his groin felt really tight after leaving Thursday's game, it began loosening up when he walked back to the clubhouse. ... New York LHP CC Sabathia (ankle) remains on track to make his next scheduled start Tuesday against Texas. Sabathia injured his ankle Wednesday but had it wrapped and it has not experienced swelling. ... Minnesota OF Miguel Sano (strained left hamstring) began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester on Friday by going 0-for-1 with a walk in five innings. Twins manager Paul Molitor said Sano's rehab could be brief.


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