Gary Sanchez had a moment he will remember.
Sanchez hit a three-run homer off Fernando Rodney in the ninth inning, and the New York Yankees rallied to beat the Minnesota Twins 4-3 to complete a four-game sweep and extend their winning streak to six.
“It’s definitely a very exciting moment,” Sanchez said through a translator. “The other special moment for me was when we made it to the playoffs last year, so this one is definitely up there.”
Minnesota completed an 0-7 trip, its first winless road swing of at least seven games since Aug. 10-16, 2001. The Twins have lost eight straight to New York, including last year’s AL wild-card game, and 13 of their last 14 at Yankee Stadium, counting the postseason.
“I think this is going to build up the character of this team,” Minnesota general manager Thad Levine said.
Dellin Betances (1-1) struck out the side on 13 pitches in the ninth for his first win since June 27. The big right-hander struggled to keep from flying open on his delivery during the second half last season and early this year, causing control problems.
“It’s the embodiment of hope in the middle of the offseason, where nobody wins or loses and where college fandom leads into the NFL,” said Peter O’Reilly, senior vice president of events for the league.
AT&T Stadium has been configured to hold more than 20,000 fans for each day of the event. A lottery was held for the free tickets for each of the three days of the draft, with 10,000 people getting two seats apiece to a particular day.
The draft has come a long way from its origins in 1936, when newspapers didn’t even bother to cover who was picked. The first televised draft was broadcast by ESPN in 1980, but it wasn’t a fan event until 1995, when the league moved it to Madison Square Garden.
The draft eventually moved to New York City’s Radio City Music Hall for nine years.
“For the last years in Radio City, we felt there was more demand by getting up close and personal,” O’Reilly said. “We felt that Day 3 was a bit sleepy and we wanted to see what we did if we opened up that door.”
The show went on the road to Chicago (2015 and 2016) and Philadelphia (2017) with great success, as measured by interest inside the building as well as outside, where the league brought experiences to fans previously only seen at the Super Bowl.