The New York Yankees led the American League in home runs this season, so it's only fitting that the long ball was key to their American League Wild Card win on Tuesday night. The Bronx Bombers hit three home runs to rally from an early 3-0 deficit and double-up the Minnesota Twins, 8-4, to advance to the American League Divisional Series. Didi Gregorius, Brett Gardner, and Aaron Judge all went deep, overcoming the rough outing by starter Luis Severino. The Yankees' starter did not last the first inning after giving up a leadoff home run to Brian Dozier, followed by a two-run shot to Eddie Rosario. The Yankees quickly tied it with a three-run homer by Gregorius in the bottom half of the inning, before Gardner gave them the lead for good in the second. Chad Green, David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, and Aroldis Chapman combined for 8.2 innings of relief, with Robertson earning the win. Their 13 strikeouts tied a postseason record for a bullpen in a single game, as they threw a combined 142 pitches on the night. New York will now face the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS, which begins on Thursday. They will start Sonny Gray in the first game, with C.C. Sabathia going in Game 2 in Cleveland.
Eichel, Sabres Agree on Extension
Just one day before the 2017-18 NHL regular season began, the Buffalo Sabres locked up a young star that is leading the rebuilding phase of their organization. The Sabres agreed to an eight-year, $80 million extension with center Jack Eichel on Tuesday. Eichel ties Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings for the sixth-highest annual average salary in the NHL at $10 million. The overall value of the contract is tied with Kopitar for 10th in the league. The 20-year-old has been in talks with Buffalo for months, but that process reportedly stalled six weeks ago. The young star is not happy with how his first two seasons has gone, with his second season getting shortened due to injury. Although, in just 61 games in the 2016-17 campaign, he led the team with 57 points, was second with 24 goals, and third with 33 assists. Eichel was selected second in the 2016 draft, behind Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers, who received a large eight-year contract last season. The trend of young stars getting the money continues, with Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs reportedly expected to be next on that list. The Sabres got this deal done just two days before they open their season against their division rivals, the Montreal Canadiens.
Thunder Fall in Preseason Debut of Anthony, George
The Oklahoma City Thunder had themselves a very busy and productive off-season to create a legitimate contender against the mighty Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference. That included bringing in stars Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to support the masterful efforts of Russell Westbrook. Those additions were enough for the star point guard to sign the largest contract in NBA history, which keeps him in OKC for years to come. Tuesday was the first day on the court for this new-look team, as they opened up their preseason against the Houston Rockets. Both Anthony and George finished in double figures, but the Thunder fell on their home floor, 104-97, against the Rockets, who had a similar off-season. Their one big move was bringing in Chris Paul in free agency, who also made his debut with his new team. CP3 had 11 points and seven assists, while James Harden put up a double-double of 16 points and 10 assists in limited playing time. Eric Gordon led the scoring for Houston with 21 on the road. Anthony led the scoring in the loss for OKC with 19 points, while George added 15, while Westbrook sat out due to an illness. Preseason or not, Tuesday gave the OKC faithful a slight taste of what to expect. They can only imagine how this team will perform with the triple-double machine joining their new stars on the floor.