MINNEAPOLIS -- While the Yankees' front office was busy finalizing the details of a trade that they hope will bolster their postseason chances, Gary Sanchez delivered a two-run double and Didi Gregorius homered as the Yankees pushed past the Twins, 6-3, on Tuesday at Target Field.New York evened the series
MINNEAPOLIS -- While the Yankees' front office was busy finalizing the details of a trade that they hope will bolster their postseason chances, Gary Sanchez delivered a two-run double and Didi Gregorius homered as the Yankees pushed past the Twins, 6-3, on Tuesday at Target Field.
New York evened the series with the victory, improving to 11-3 in its last 14 meetings with Minnesota. With reinforcements Todd Frazier, Tommy Kahnle and Player Page for David Robertson en route from the White Sox, the Bombers now sit three games behind the division-leading Red Sox in the American League East.
"Hopefully, we can get on a roll on this road trip," Brett Gardner said. "I know tomorrow will be a big game for us. It'd be nice to win a series from a really good team on the road, and then get off to Seattle. I'm excited about the way the game went tonight and excited to get those guys over here."
Aaron Judge, who finished the night 2-for-4 with an intentional walk, knocked home the go-ahead run with a fifth-inning single off Thomas Pressly. The two hits for Judge were double the amount of knocks he had recorded since the All-Star break. He is now 3-for-25 in the second half of the season.
Twins right-hander Bartolo Colon was pulled from the game just before a potential third meeting with Judge. Colon, 44, lasted four-plus frames in his Minnesota debut, in which he earned the loss. The 20-year veteran gave up four runs off eight hits, including three of each during the five-run fifth inning.
"Bartolo was pretty good early; you could tell he was changing speeds on his fastball," Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. "He was trying to rely on that two-seamer as advertised. But the fourth inning helped set up the fifth inning. We had a chance to make a couple plays there, and that changed how the fifth unfolded."
New York righty Luis Cessa battled command issues over 3 2/3 innings, allowing three runs off four hits. He walked four batters and hit another while recording a pair of strikeouts. Miguel Sano clubbed his 22nd homer -- and first since the break -- a solo shot in the third. The Yankees' bullpen, which had its 14 1/3-inning scoreless streak snapped on Monday, combined to throw 5 1/3 shutout frames.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Fifth-inning outburst: The Yankees chased Colon in a five-run fifth inning, taking their first lead of the series. Colon gave up three straight hits, including consecutive doubles, to bring his Twins debut to a close. Sanchez delivered the final blow to Colon with a two-run double to even the score at 3-3. Three batters later, Gregorius launched a first-pitch fastball from Pressly into the seats for a two-run homer, capping the five-spot. According to Statcast™, the homer traveled an estimated 391 feet with an exit velocity of 99.8 mph.
"In the fifth, they got on top of me and started hitting me hard," Colon said. "When you don't put pitches where they are supposed to be, they hit you hard."
Shreve's escape job: Minnesota missed a chance to answer New York immediately in the bottom of the fifth. Sano started things off with a double and Max Kepler followed with a base knock, putting runners at the corners and nobody out. Left-hander Chasen Shreve then buckled down and managed to get out of the inning unscathed. Shreve froze Robbie Grossman with a full-count fastball and then got Eddie Rosario to swing through an 0-2 splitter. Shreve ended the threat unharmed, inducing an inning-ending popup.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Colon struck out Judge to end a nine-pitch first inning in his debut. He froze the slugger with a fastball on the corner clocked at 86.4 mph. According to ESPN Stats & Info, it was the second-slowest fastball that Judge has ever struck out on. The slowest is when he was fanned by Kyle Hendricks with an 85.6 mph heater.
• Bartolo Colon struck out Aaron Judge using veteran trickery
The Twins went 2-for-18 with runners in scoring position. The last time Minnesota had just two hits with at least 16 at-bats with runners in scoring position was June 8, 2013, when the club went 2-for-16 at Washington.
KEPLER MAKES FOUR-STAR CATCH
Twins right fielder Kepler helped Colon with a diving catch to rob Matthew Holliday on a sinking liner in the fourth inning, and was credited with a four-star catch, per Statcast™. Kepler had 3.5 seconds to cover 49 feet. Kepler improved to 3-for-8 on four-star catches this year, and his 17 three-star grabs are the second most in baseball.
The Twins successfully challenged a play at second base in the first inning, when Zack Granite was originally ruled out on a tag from second baseman Ronald Torreyes. After a review of 1:08, the call was overturned, and Granite was ruled safe on Joe Mauer's fielder's choice.
Yankees: Wednesday's starter, left-hander Jordan Montgomery (6-4, 3.78 ERA), lasted just four innings in his most recent start, against the Red Sox, serving up a two-run homer to Hanley Ramirez. The rookie has not been able to complete five innings in consecutive starts for the first time in his career. First pitch is at 1:10 p.m. ET.
Twins: Right-hander Jose Berrios (8-3, 3.70 ERA) is set to start the series finale on Wednesday at 12:10 p.m. CT. Berrios struggled against the Astros on Friday, lasting 1 2/3 innings and allowing seven runs (two earned) on four hits and three walks.
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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.
Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis.