Elizabethton, TN – After managing just one hit and no runs in the first seven innings in last night’s home loss to the Greeneville Reds, Pulaski jumped out to an early lead tonight against Elizabethton to take game one of a three game series on Sunday night.
Antonio Cabello doubled to left field with one out before a groundout looked like the Yanks would leave the runner stranded on second base. A walk and a single followed and Cabello scored with two runners still aboard. Saul Torres scored everyone with his eighth home run of the season and the Yankees scored more runs in the first six batters of tonight’s game than they scored in 10 innings last night to go up 4-0 in the top of the first.
The Twins answered back with a pair of runs of their own in the bottom of the first with a two run home run on the first pitch of the at-bat after Yankees starter Randy Vasquez gave up a walk with two outs. Both teams were held in check through the middle innings as they only combined for three more hits through the fourth inning.
Pulaski added insurance runs in the top of the fifth inning after Roberto Chirinos hit a lead off double and advanced to third base on a throwing error by the Twins center fielder. After a pitching change, Torres walked and advanced to second base on a wild pitch. A single with no outs and both runners in scoring position scored Chirinos and pushed Torres to third base. After another walk the Yankees had the bases loaded and Torres was able to score on a sac-fly from Jose Martinez. The third walk of the inning gave the Yankees another bases loaded opportunity and meant the end of the night for Twins pitcher Steven Cruz after just one out in the inning where he gave up three walks and two runs on one hit. A second sac-fly scored another run and the Yankees had a 7-2 lead.
Just like they did in the first inning, the Twins responded well and pushed two runs of their own across the plate to cut the Yankees lead to 7-4. Vasquez gave up a one out walk and a costly fielding error on a ground ball kept both Twins runners on base. The Twins made the Yankees pay with a double that scored both runs. The second out of the inning came on a ground ball to second base that advanced the runner on second over to third. Vasquez’s fifth walk of the night brought his night to an end after 4.2 innings where he gave up four runs on three hits with five strikeouts.
Jackson Bertsch was called out of the bullpen and he hit the first batter he faced before getting a fly out to Cabello in left field to end the Twins threat in the fifth. Pulaski loaded the bases for themselves in the sixth inning with two outs but a strikeout ended the top half of the inning. They got a walk in the top of the seventh inning with two outs and once again couldn’t string together any hits to push him across and the game remained 7-4.
Elizabethton hit a lead off double in the bottom of the seventh before two more walks loaded the bases and sent the go-ahead run to the plate but Bertsch got the strikeout and ended the Twins last good chance to cut into the deficit. Tyler Johnson replaced Bertsch in the bottom of the eighth and he closed the game with two scoreless innings with three strikeouts and one hit as the Yanks prevailed 7-4 in game one and bounced back to win after last night’s extra inning loss.
The win puts the Yankees at 35-16 on the year and 9-2 in the month of August. Pulaski has now bounced back following their last five losses to win their next game and haven’t lost consecutive games since July 19th and 20th.
The Yankees and Twins will continue the series tonight from Northeast Community Credit Union Ballpark when the Yankees go for their fifth straight series win.