NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Aaron Judge hit his American League-leading 45th home run and topped 100 RBIs, Didi Gregorius surpassed Derek Jeter for the most home runs by a Yankees shortstop and New York beat the Minnesota Twins 11-3 Wednesday for a three-game sweep.
The game was briefly halted in the fifth inning when a foul ball down the third-base line off the bat of Todd Frazier struck a young girl, who was carried out of the stands, given first aid and taken to a hospital. The protective netting at Yankee Stadium ends at the home plate side of each dugout, and the team said in July it is “seriously exploring” extending the netting for 2018.READ MORE: Rangers Stay Red Hot, Get 4 Points From Panarin In Rout Of Blackhawks
The Yankees, who have won 10 of 12, began the day three games behind AL East-leading Boston. They opened a seven-game advantage over the Twins for the top AL wild card with 10 games remaining.
Minnesota started 1½ games ahead of the Los Angeles Angels for the league’s last playoff berth. The Twins have lost five of six and were outscored 18-6 in the three-game series.
Judge hit his eighth home run of September, a two-run drive that began the comeback from a 3-0 deficit. He added a sacrifice fly for his 101st RBI, joining Joe DiMaggio, Tony Lazzeri and Hideki Matsui as the only Yankees rookies to reach the century mark.
“You can talk about the home runs and the RBIs, but it’s the on-base (percentage) and it’s the base-running and the defense, and it’s the complete package is what we’ve gotten from him,” manager Joe Girardi said. “And that’s what’s been so impressive to me.”
Judge’s opposite-field drive down the right-field line came on an 0-2 pitch from Bartolo Colon. Gary Sanchez followed with a shot into Monument Park, his 32nd, to go back-to-back with Judge for the second time in the homestand.
Greg Bird’s RBI double in a six-run fourth chased Colon (4-6 in the AL and 6-14 overall), and Brett Gardner and Sanchez followed with run-scoring singles against Tyler Duffey for a 6-3 lead.
Gregorius’ three-run drive into the second deck in right was his 25th, surpassing Jeter’s total in 1999.
“It really is pretty impressive considering the great players that they’ve had here. And Didi again has had a great year, and he’s had a really special September, and it’s been important to us,” Girardi said.
Gregorius downplayed the achievement.
“For me, what’s most important is winning,” he said. “That’s what we play for. As long as we’re winning, I’m good, I’m happy.”READ MORE: NYC Hospitality Alliance: Mayor De Blasio 'Grinch' For Vaccine Mandate That May Keep Tourists With Young Children Away
Minnesota built its lead in a 46-pitch third inning against Luis Severino. Joe Mauer had an RBI single that capped a 13-pitch at-bat, the longest of his big league career, and Jorge Polanco hit a two-run single.
Colon, 44, signed his first big league contract in 1993, about eight months before Severino was born.
Colon gave up six runs and seven hits in 3 1/3 innings, raising his overall ERA to 6.63.
Moved up two days in the rotation but pitching on normal four days’ rest, Severino allowed three runs and five hits in three innings, just his second poor start since the All-Star break. Chasen Shreve (4-1) pitched three hitless innings.
Judge also struck out for the 199th time this season and walked for the 116th. DiMaggio had 125 RBIs as a rookie in 1936, Lazzeri 114 in 1926 and Matsui 106 in 2003 after leaving the Yomiuri Giants to sign with the Yankees.
Jacoby Ellsbury singled, doubled and tripled. He hit a fly to right-center in his last at-bat.
The Yankees posed in their new thumbs-down T-shirts, nine days after a Mets fan responded with the gesture following Frazier’s home run against Tampa Bay at Citi Field.
Minnesota has 26 sacrifices, tied for second in the AL behind the Chicago White Sox (32). The Twins had a pair of singles in loading the bases during CC Sabathia’s first four pitches Tuesday night.
“If you’ve got a better chance to get a hit by bunting that you do of swinging the bat, I think that they’re times to still to that,” manager Paul Molitor said. The bunt had been part of the game forever. It’s a proven commodity.”
Yankees: OF Aaron Hicks (oblique strain) will start batting practice Thursday in Tampa, Florida, and is to play in a game Monday at New York’s minor league complex. … RHP Adam Warren (back spasm) was to throw a bullpen session Wednesday and advance to a simulated game by Sunday or early next week.
Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (12-11) will start Friday’s series opener of a three-game series at Toronto, New York’s final road games.
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