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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press New York's Aaron Judge runs the bases after hitting a two-run home run in the AL wild-card game Tuesday in New York. The Yankees beat the Twins and will play Cleveland in the Division Series.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017 1:00 am

yankees 8, minnesota 4

Yankees blast past Twins

Gregorius and Judge homer as bullpen is stout

Ronald Blum | Associated Press

NEW YORK — Didi Gregorius' three-run homer tied the score after the Minnesota Twins chased Luis Severino in the first inning, a pumped-up Aaron Judge hit a two-run shot in his postseason debut and the New York Yankees were rescued by their brilliant bullpen during an 8-4 victory in the AL wild-card game Tuesday night.

Brett Gardner also homered for the Yankees, who knocked out Ervin Santana after two innings, won their first postseason game in five years and once again eliminated the Twins from the playoffs.

Chad Green, David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle and Aroldis Chapman combined for 8 2/3 innings of one-run relief.

New York opens the best-of-five AL Division Series on Thursday at Cleveland. The Twins lost their 13th consecutive postseason game, tying the record set by Boston from 1986-95.

It took 45 minutes to play the first inning in a seesaw start to this year's postseason.

Brian Dozier and Eddie Rosario homered for Minnesota to help chase New York ace Luis Severino after just one out, but the Yankees got all those runs back on a three-run shot from Gregorius in the bottom half.

The first inning included 81 pitches, seven full counts, two mound visits and a historic pitching change.

Severino matched the shortest start by a Yankees pitcher in postseason history — joining Art Ditmar (three earned runs) from Game 1 of the 1960 World Series and Bob Turley (four earned runs) in Game 2 of the 1958 World Series. It was also the shortest outing in a winner-take-all postseason game since Game 5 of an AL Division Series in 2000, when Oakland's Gil Heredia got only one out against the Yankees, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

Dozier drove Severino's fifth pitch just over the wall in left field for the first leadoff homer in Twins postseason history. Three batters and a mound visit from Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild later, Rosario hit a two-run drive that narrowly cleared the fence in right.

At that point — 17 pitches into Severino's night — reliever Chad Green started stretching in the bullpen.

A single and a double later, Severino's day was done.

Green quickly restored a playoff energy to Yankee Stadium, striking out Byron Buxton and Jason Castro with runners at second and third to escape the jam.

Then the Yankees went to work on Twins starter Ervin Santana.