NEW YORK (AP) - Aaron Judge hit his 44th home run, Aroldis Chapman pitched out of big trouble in the eighth inning and the New York Yankees edged the Minnesota Twins 2-1 on Monday night to increase their AL wild-card lead.
Todd Frazier hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the sixth, and Jaime Garcia gave the Yankees a splendid performance against the team that traded him this year after only one start. New York, still chasing first-place Boston in the AL East, won the opener of a three-game series that could serve as a potential postseason preview two weeks from now.
The Yankees have built a five-game cushion for the league's top wild card with 12 to play. Minnesota is in the second spot, 1 1/2 games ahead of the idle Los Angeles Angels. So if the standings hold, New York will host the Twins in the one-game playoff on Oct. 3.
Judge homered to right-center in the first off hard-luck loser Ervin Santana (15-8), who won his previous four decisions. The All-Star righty gave up seven hits in 5 2/3 innings.
David Robertson (9-2) retired all four hitters he faced, improving to 5-0 since the Yankees reacquired him from the Chicago White Sox in July.