Revenge of the Nerds: Sonny Gray & Joey Gallo Beat Yanks. Minn 6 NY 1

Jose Trevino after throwing out Max Kepler attempting to steal 2nd in a strike-em-out-throw-em-out DP

It was Revenge of the Nerds night in Minnesota as Sonny Gray pitched 7 innings of 3-hit shutout baseball, and Joey Gallo hit a homerun to do in the Yankees, 6-1.

Both Gray and Gallo became notorious in NY for failing to live up to their promise under the bright lights of the big city, after the Yanks had famously traded for them.

Meanwhile, Yankee insurance starter Jhony Brito couldn’t finish ’em off — he didn’t have control of his off speed pitches enough to get the final strike on batters, and was banged around in the 3rd inning, causing manager Aaron Boone to have to go to his pen early again.

The Yankee pen didn’t do much better — allowing 3 of Minnesota’s 6 runs, including Greg Weissert giving up the homer to Gallo in the 4th.

“Spinnin’ it,” said Aaron Boone about why Gray was successful. “That’s what he does so well. I think he mixed in enough of his sinker to keep us honest. But whether it was cutter, breaking ball, slider — he was on top of it. But we need to be able to make that adjustment.”

The loss put the Yanks at 13-10, in 4th place and a full 7 games behind Tampa which is now 20-3. Minnesota falls to 13-10, but in 1st place in their division by 2 games.

1. Gray Is Red Hot

Sonny Gray is Red Hot now — 3-0 0.62 and leading the American League in ERA. He is of course with a different team than the one the Yanks traded him to — after 3 decent seasons in Cincinnati, Minnesota picked him up for a bargain — low-minors pitcher Chase Petty, and Gray went 8-5 3.05 with the Twins last year. Gray is now 33 years old.

The Yanks gave up top prospects for Gray: pitcher James Kaprielian (who is not doing well this year; 0-2 12.94), Jorge Mateo (who is Red Hot himself — 3-12-.358 (.410 OBP) with 8 SB’s for Baltimore), and Dustin Fowler (out of baseball).

Gray Returns

After 2 less-than-stellar years with the Yanks (4-7 3.72 and 11-9 4.90 in 2017-18), NY traded Gray to Cincinnati for minor league infielder Shed Long Jr.(out of baseball), who the Yanks later traded to Seattle for minor league centerfielder Josh Stowers (in minors for Dodgers), who the Yankees later traded to Texas along with minor league outfielder Antonio Cabello (still in minors) for Rougned Odor, who played some good ball for the Yanks in 2021 but they released him after the season (he is now on San Diego).

Aaron Judge hit a 1-out double off Gray in the 4th — but was stranded. That amounted to the Yanks only threat against Gray.

2. Brito Couldn’t Finish ‘Em

On the Yankee side, Jhony Brito pitched a quick first inning, but then threw a lot of pitches in the 2nd and the Twins got to him in the 3rd. He was unable to finish batters with his breaking ball — instead going to long counts and getting hit.

A walk, single (on 9th pitch), single started the bottom of the 3rd for Brito. He struck out Carlos Correa on 3 pitches but then went 3-2 on Jorge Polanco before he singled in 2. Byron Buxton grounded out for another run. Minnesota 3 NY 0.

“He couldn’t get that swing and miss tonite,” said manager Aaron Boone. “It started with a long 2nd inning — I think he was up over 30 pitches in that 2nd inning after having a pretty easy 1st inning. They just extended at bats on him. He couldn’t put them away. Even in the 2nd inning, he was able to get out of it. But the 3rd inning, same type of thing — he couldn’t finish them off. To their credit, they spoiled some pitches. It just made it a long — I think he up was over 70 (pitches) there in the 3rd.”

3. Gallo Doing Great with Elimination of Shift

And Joey Gallo is now Red Hot too. Gallo hit a 432-foot BOMB to right center leading off the 4th against Gregory Weissert.

Gallo, a dead pull hitter, used to remark when he was a Yankee how so many of his hot shots went right at someone playing the shift.

With elimination of the shift, Gallo figures to do better — and his batting average is much better: 6-12-.243 (.364 OBP) — versus the last two seasons when he batted .160 and .159 for the Yanks and Dodgers.

Gallo’s Homers and On Base Average have always made him extremely productive despite a low batting average.

4. Weissert to Abreu

After Gallo’s homer, Weissert allowed a walk and a single, but a strike-em-out-throw-em-out (by Jose Trevino nailing Max Kepler) double play got him out of the inning.

Weissert got the first 2 outs of the 6th before yielding a single and then yielding to Albert Abreu.

Abreu walked the first 2 batters he faced to load the bases before getting a Line Out to left. A pseudo Phew moment — as NY was down 4-0.

5. Volpe Error Leads to 5th Run

More bad news for the Yankees — Anthony Volpe made his 2nd error in 2 days — this one a throwing error attempting a double play in the 6th.

The error gave Minnesota an extra out and Polenco capitalized with a 2-out, RBI double off Albert Abreu.

Wandy Peralta pitched a 1-2-3 shutout 8th, but in the 9th, Jimmy Cordero allowed an RBI triple to Correa to make it 6-0.

6. Yankee Lineup Teased in 8th and 9th

With Gray gone, the Yanks teased in the 8th and 9th — loading the bases in both innings but only getting 1 run.

In the 8th, a 1-out single by Jose Trevino, a 2-out single by Anthony Volpe, and a throwing error by Jose Miranda at 3rd allowed Aaron Judge to get on loading the bases for NY — down 5-0 at the time. But Griffin Jax struck out Anthony Rizzo on 3 pitches.

Yanks Load Bases with Nobody Out in 9th

In the 9th against Jovani Moran, Gleyber Torres led off with a walk, DJ LeMahieu singled, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa walked to load the bases with nobody out.

Oswaldo Cabrera grounded out — scoring a run. But Jose Trevino fouled out and Aaron Hicks struck out for the old ballgame.

The Boxscore

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