Aaron Judge hit his American League-leading 44th home run of the season while Todd Frazier hit a go-ahead sac fly in the sixth inning as the New York Yankees beat the Minnesota Twins 2-1 on Monday at Yankee Stadium. >> Box score
Frazier broke a 1-1 tie by hitting a bases-loaded sac fly with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning after Ervin Santana intentionally walked Jacoby Ellsbury as the Yankees expanded their wild-card lead to five games.
David Robertson (9-2) and the rest of the Yankees bullpen combined to throw 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief after Jaime Garcia pitched into the sixth inning. Aroldis Chapman pitched out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the eighth inning and followed that with a 1-2-3 ninth for his 19th save of the season.
Garcia struck out nine batters and allowed one unearned run and four hits in 5 2/3 innings, leaving after Joe Mauer hit a two-out single.
Santana (15-8) allowed two runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Judge's solo home run in the first inning gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead, but the Twins tied it in the top of the fifth inning on Robbie Grossman's RBI fielder's choice.
The Yankees had to be uncertain what Garcia would provide after being visibly frustrated when yanked from his last start. It seems Garcia used his anger to propel himself to his best outing as a Yankee. Garcia still failed to work through a full six innings, but he gave the Yankees a strong performance.
After Judge's first-inning bomb, the Yankees offense wasted plenty of chances in this one (0-for-12 with runners in scoring position, stranding nine base runners), but scratched a run across with a productive out (sac fly by Frazier) to take the lead.
Dellin Betances could not find the plate, hitting a batter and walking two more, which forced Chapman into the game with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth. Chapman, who has regained his confidence he lost a few weeks back, shut down the Twins rally. Chapman then stifled the Twins in the ninth inning. In all, Chapman needed just 16 pitches -- the final clocked at 104 mph -- to get the final five outs, showing he is all the way back in form.
CC Sabathia (11-5, 3.85 ERA) and the Yankees face Jose Berrios (12-7, 3.84 ERA) and the Twins on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. at Yankee Stadium in the second game of a three-game series.