Yankees closer comes in to shut down Twins in tight game
NEW YORK — Aroldis Chapman recorded the final five outs after Dellin Betances loaded the bases in the eighth inning, and the New York Yankees held on for a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Monday night.
Chapman entered after Betances was booed off the mound for hitting Robbie Grossman with a pitch and issuing walks to pinch hitter Max Kepler and Brian Dozier.
Chapman quickly erased Betances’ mess by throwing four pitches clocked at 100 mph or higher. He struck out left-handed-hitting Joe Mauer on three pitches and retired Byron Buxton on a harmless fly ball to right field.
The left-hander then threw a hitless ninth and notched his 16th save by fanning Eduardo Escobar on a 103 mph fastball as the Yankees (83-67) moved five games ahead of the Twins (78-72) in the race for the top American League wild card.
Before Betances forced manager Joe Girardi into using his closer for more than one inning, David Robertson (9-2) recorded the final out of the sixth and pitched a hitless seventh.
The Yankees grabbed a 2-1 lead in the sixth when Todd Frazier lifted a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded.
New York had runners at first and second with one out after Chase Headley and Starlin Castro singled off Ervin Santana (15-8). On the next pitch, Santana bounced a pitch in the dirt for a wild pitch during an at-bat to Jacoby Ellsbury.
The runners moved up a base, and Ellsbury, who is 10-for-34 off Santana, was intentionally walked. That brought up Frazier, who is 4-for-20 off the right-hander. Santana got the out when the third baseman lifted a 1-1 pitch to center fielder Buxton.
The ball was deep enough, and Headley took off for the plate as soon as it hit Buxton’s glove. Headley slid in as Buxton’s throw was slightly off target.
Before Frazier’s 30th RBI with the Yankees, the teams traded runs in different manners.
Aaron Judge hit his 44th homer two batters into the game. He also committed a fielding error on a fifth-inning single by Escobar, and the Twins tied the game when Eddie Rosario scored on a groundout by Grossman on a ball Frazier dived for.
Jaime Garcia remained winless in seven starts for the Yankees as he allowed an unearned run on four hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out nine without issuing a walk.
Santana allowed two runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. He fanned three and walked one.
NOTES: Twins 3B Miguel Sano (left shin) was in New York to deal with a personal matter, and manager Paul Molitor said the plan was for him to fly back to Minnesota to resume his rehab there. … New York OF Aaron Hicks (strained left oblique) continued taking swings off a tee and running. Hicks said he is close to taking batting practice on the field. … Minnesota INF Eduardo Escobar and New York RHP David Robertson are among six finalists for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award, which honors players for their community service.