Randy Dobnak gives up four home runs as Twins fall 9-6 to Yankees


Randy Dobnak recorded 10 of his 14 outs via ground balls Wednesday night, while the Twins peppered Yankees ace Gerrit Cole with baserunners in five of the six innings they faced him, and never failed to hit with runners in scoring position. So a 9-6 Yankees win probably sounds about right.

Now factor in the home runs.

When Dobnak wasn’t getting ground balls, the Yankees were belting him with extra-base hits, seven in all and four that cleared the Target Field fences. And though Cole was forced to pitch out of the stretch more than he’d like, the righthander surrendered only one hit per inning and three were singles. Yes, Jorge Polanco and Miguel Sano also bashed long home runs, but the lopsided victory was headed to … well, who it always does.

The Twins absorbed their second consecutive loss, fourth in a row to the Yankees and a loss for the 25th time in 34 meetings with New York, and while the game was filled with who’s-cheating intrigue, it turned out to be a pretty straightforward New York thrashing on the field.

Cole had the entire baseball world examining every move on the mound and every spin of his pitches, and perhaps it contributed to him tying his season high of two home runs allowed. But Dobnak had none of that pressure — but the pressure of facing an awakening Yankees lineup was more than enough.

Never before had Dobnak allowed four homers in a game. Nor had he ever issued three walks. And he certainly had never surrendered eight runs in an outing. But he has now, falling to 1-6 on the season with an ERA that inflated to 7.36 after pitching 4⅔ innings.

Aaron Judge began the carnage in the first inning, smashing a slider into the left-field bleachers. Giancarlo Stanton took the long way, rocketing a pair of home runs, in the third and fifth inning, a total of 828 feet, one into the batters eye in center field and one clearing the high wall in right-center. Making matters even more painful: those first three home runs all came on 0-2 pitches.

Miguel Andujar finished off a nightmare night for Dobnak on an 0-1 count, sending a two-out slider into the Yankees’ bullpen.

Cole, meanwhile, shrugged off the controversy, and Josh Donaldson’s suspicions, about using illegal substances to put extra spin on the ball, and pitched the Yankees to victory for only the second time in his last five starts. Utilizing a four-seam fastball that occasionally registered 100 mph on the stadium scoreboard, Cole struck out nine Twins and never faced an at-bat with a runner on second or third base. Yes, the Twins were a perfect 0-for-0 in clutch situations against him.

Sano’s fifth inning home run, an opposite-field blast into the flower pots above the right-field overhang, gave him a team-high 12 on the season, and it made a little history, too. It was the 143rd homer of Sano’s career, tying him for 11th on the Twins’ all-time list with his former teammate and fellow first baseman Joe Mauer.

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