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Joe Mauer’s grand slam helps Twins score rare victory over Yankees

September 12, 2018

Joe Mauer was 1-for-23 over the past week, and hadnt had an extra-base hit since Sept. 1. He was batting use .185 against Yankees pitching over the past five years, and had only one hit with the bases loaded all season.

In other words, you probably didnt see this coming. Even with the bases loaded.

But Mauer delivered another memorable moment in his historic career on Tuesday, and earned a curtain call from an enthusiastic crowd. The Twin first baseman took a couple of called strikes, worked the count full, and then pounced on a 97-mile-per-hour fastball down the middle. It landed on the grass berm beyond the center field fence, a grand slam that broke all the slumps including his teams. Mauers fifth career slam staked the Twins to a nine-run lead, and they held on for a 10-5 victory, breaking a nine-game losing streak to New York.

The Twins jumped on Yankees starter Sonny Gray for three runs in three innings, with ex-Yankee Jake Cave providing a two-run single against his old teammates in the third inning.

When Gray gave way to the bullpen, though, the Twins offense, averaging just 3.1 runs a game in September, finally came alive. Jorge Polanco doubled home Ehire Adrianza in the fourth inning against reliever Jonathan Loaisiga, and the rookie righthander came apart an inning later.

Loaisiga walked Robbie Grossman to open the inning, gave up Caves second hit of the night, and then walked the next three hitters, forcing in a run. After Willians Astudillo singled home another run, Yankees manager Aaron Boone replaced Loaisiga with Tommy Kahnle to face Mauer.

Mauer responded with his sixth home run of the season, first since Aug. 18, and his first grand slam since last September.

The Yankees werent done, though. New York fought back in the sixth inning against Kohl Stewart, with two walks and a single loading the bases. Just like Boone, Twins manager Paul Molitor elected to go to his bullpen, and the results were similar. Trevor May took over and left his third pitch to Didi Gregorius in the middle of the plate. It landed in the right-field seats for a grand slam of his own. It was Gregorius second of the season, and both came against the Twins.

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