BASEBALL:Yankees 4, Twins 3
Rookie first baseman Greg Bird had the best game of his brief career, hitting a pair of two-run home runs, and right-hander Nathan Eovaldi took a perfect game into the sixth inning as the New York Yankees completed a three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins with a 4-3 victory on Wednesday.
Filling in while Mark Teixeira recovers from a bone bruise in his lower right leg, Bird homered in consecutive at-bats off right-hander Ervin Santana (2-4).
He connected on a 0-1 changeup and sent it to the second deck in right field with two outs in the fourth. Two innings later, Bird drove a 1-0 fastball into the Yankees’ bullpen beyond the center-field wall — similar to the location where designated hitter Alex Rodriguez’s grand-slam ball landed Tuesday.
Bird became the third Yankee since 1914 with a multi-home-run game within his first five major-league games. The others were Jesus Montero on Sept. 5, 2011, against the Baltimore Orioles and Shelley Duncan on July 22, 2007, against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Bird’s first home run gave the Yankees (67-52) a 2-0 lead after Eovaldi (13-2) had retired the first 12 hitters. Eovaldi retired four more hitters before losing his perfect-game bid on a bloop single into shallow left field by Minnesota catcher Chris Herrmann.
Herrmann’s hit began a three-run sixth inning for the Twins, who loaded the bases on a single by left fielder Shane Robinson and a walk by second baseman Brian Dozier.
Minnesota evened the game at 2-2 when first baseman Joe Mauer hit a two-run single. After a walk by designated hitter Miguel Sano, the Twins went ahead on an infield single by third baseman Trevor Plouffe on a soft hit that trickled past the mound.
Eovaldi ended his 34-pitch inning by getting right fielder Eddie Rosario on a groundout and finished his 120-pitch outing with a quick seventh. He won his eighth straight decision, allowing three runs and four hits while striking out eight. His last pitch was clocked at 101 mph.
Left-hander Chasen Shreve allowed a single to Mauer but ended the eighth by striking out Sano after a wild pitch. Dellin Betances struck out two in the ninth for his eighth save.
The Twins (59-61) lost for the 13th time in their last 15 road games as Santana allowed four runs and seven hits in 7 2/3 innings. Santana got two double plays in the first three innings.
Minnesota played the game a man short in the bullpen as closer Glen Perkins was getting an MRI on his neck in Minneapolis. The Twins also lost center fielder Aaron Hicks to a strained left hamstring after the sixth.