Brett Gardner has mauled the Minnesota Twins throughout the season, and the first two contests of the three-game series at Yankee Stadium have been no exception. After recording back-to-back three-hit performances, Gardner will look to extend his hitting streak to 11 games on Wednesday afternoon as the New York Yankees vie for a sweep of the Twins.
Gardner collected a double, two singles and two RBIs in Tuesday’s 5-2 triumph, improving to 10-for-20 versus Minnesota this season. New York has won 14 of its last 19 to build a six-game lead over the Twins for the first wild card while remaining three games behind the Boston Red Sox in the American League East. Minnesota has answered winning six of eight by losing four of its last five to sit 1 1/2 games ahead of the Los Angeles Angels for the second wild-card spot. Joe Mauer had a pair of hits Tuesday to improve to 26-for-68 this month, but the veteran will be getting his first look at right-hander Luis Severino.
TV: 1:05 p.m. ET, ESPN, FSN North (Minnesota), YES (New York)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Twins RH Bartolo Colon (6-13, 6.39 ERA) vs. Yankees RH Luis Severino (13-6, 2.93)
Colon has fallen flat this month by posting an 0-3 mark with a 7.53 ERA in three starts, with Friday’s four-run, two-homer performance doing nothing for his morale. The 44-year-old Dominican struggled in his first start for the Twins against New York, permitting four runs on eight hits in four innings of a 6-3 setback on July 18. The loss dropped his career mark to 6-8 with a 5.81 ERA in 20 career appearances versus the Yankees.
Severino was moved up two days to start the series finale against Minnesota, a move made by manager Joe Girardi as a means to give the 23-year-old an addition regular-season start. Severino has not permitted more than one earned run in nine of 12 outings since the All-Star break. Severino, who has yet to face the Twins in his career, allowed two runs on three hits over eight innings in an 8-2 victory over Baltimore on Friday.
1. New York RF Aaron Judge has reached base in 15 straight games and has scored at least one run in each of his last 10.
2. Minnesota DH Robbie Grossman is 0-for-6 in the series and 1-for-18 in his last six outings.
3. Yankees 2B Starlin Castro is 6-for-11 with two RBIs and as many runs scored in his last three games after a 2-for-26 stretch in his previous six contests.
PREDICTION: Yankees 4, Twins 2