Many things are clicking now for the New York Yankees, but nothing like the bat of shortstop Didi Gregorius.
Gregorius has homered in the last four games and is five games away from completing the best month of his career after homering and driving in two more runs Wednesday.
The hits from Gregorius put the Yankees in position to get their season-high sixth straight victory and complete their first four-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium in nearly nine years Thursday afternoon.
After his latest big night, Gregorius is hitting a scorching .372 with nine homers and a major league-leading 29 RBIs. He also has scored 20 runs and owns an OPS of 1.303 after going 3-for-3 with the homer and a pair of walks in Wednesday’s 7-4 victory.
“He’s playing great,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “He really is.”
Great might be an understatement in describing the performance of Gregorius.
His RBI total is tied with Dave Winfield (1988) for the third-highest in a month in team history. The record of 34 is shared by Tino Martinez (1997) and Alex Rodriguez (2007).
He also is the second Yankee to hit at least nine homers in April at Yankee Stadium, where he is hitting .451 with all nine of his homers and 25 RBIs. He also had three straight three-hit games for the second time and is hitting .455 in his last nine games.
“I do have a lot of home runs, but it’s not like I’m going out there trying to hit them,” Gregorius said.
New York’s last four-game sweep over Minnesota at home occurred May 15-18, 2009 when three of the games were walk-off victories and the other was a one-run game decided on a hit in the seventh inning.
This time, the Yankees are in position for the sweep because they are outscoring the Twins 29-8 in the series.
“They capitalize on pretty much every mistake it feels like,” Minnesota right-hander Lance Lynn said after allowing home runs to Gregorius and Tyler Austin. “They’re a good team. We knew that coming in. You got to make pitches and you can’t make mistakes.”
The Twins are on a six-game losing streak since Eddie Rosario scored on Ryan LaMarre’s single in the 16th inning April 18 against the Cleveland Indians in Puerto Rico.
Since that win, they are getting outscored 55-22 and hitting .227.
Miguel Sano homered Wednesday but is 3-for-20 in the last six games. Max Kepler had three hits Wednesday and is 9-for-24 on the trip.
“At least we put some hits on the board and gave ourselves an opportunity,” Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said after his team went 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11. “Bases loaded nobody out, we got one and we had that other situation late there, a base hit would have tied the game. We just couldn’t get that big hit.”
The Twins will attempt to get some big hits off the Yankees’ Jordan Montgomery, who is attempting to win three straight outings for the second time in his career. Montgomery (2-0, 3.80 ERA) has won consecutive starts for the third time in his career after allowing one run and four hits in six innings of Saturday’s 9-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Montgomery is also unbeaten in his last nine starts and is 4-1 with a 3.41 ERA since Aug. 5.
With men on base this season, opponents are hitting .220 and with runners in scoring position, he is allowing a .130 average.
The left-hander is facing the Twins for the second time in his career. In a 6-1 loss at Minnesota on July 19, he allowed six runs and seven hits, including a three-run homer to Sano in six innings.
Kyle Gibson (1-1, 4.29) is 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA in his last three starts since opening the season with six hitless innings March 31 at Baltimore. He last pitched Saturday in a 10-1 loss at Tampa Bay when he allowed four runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings.
On Saturday, he allowed a two-run homer in the third to C.J. Cron when he was one strike away from getting through the inning. Despite Cron’s homer, Gibson has allowed only one homer in his first 21 innings after he allowed a career-worst 24 last season.
Gibson is 1-4 with a 9.31 ERA in six career starts against the Yankees. It is his highest ERA against any team he has made at least two starts against.
Gibson last faced the Yankees on June 16, 2016 in Minnesota when he allowed three runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings of a 4-1 loss.
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