The Minnesota Twins got good pitching from Ervin Santana and the bullpen, but a Todd Frazier sacrifice fly turned out to be the difference as the Twins lost to the New York Yankees 2-1 on Monday.
The Twins fell behind in this matchup right away against the lone team ahead of them in the Wild Card standings. Rookie sensation Aaron Judge continued his march towards Mark McGwire's now 30-year record of 49 home runs as a rookie in 1987, with his 44th home run of the year, a solo blast to right field to give New York a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first.
The Twins tied up the game with an unearned run in the top of the fifth, as Robbie Grossman grounded into a force out, scoring Eddie Rosario to tie the game at 1-1.
That was the only run Yankees starter Jaime Garcia gave up as he tossed 5.2 innings, allowing only one unearned run on four hits, while walking nine.
Ervin Santana was unable to match Garcia as he gave up his second run of the game in the bottom of the sixth, with Todd Frazier driving in Chase Headley on a sacrifice fly to center to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead.
The Twins were able to load the bases with one out in the eighth with Dellin Betances on the mound as he hit Robbie Grossman with a pitch, then walked Max Kepler and Brian Dozier. But Yankees manager Joe Girardi brought in Aroldis Chapman who struck out Joe Mauer on three pitches then got Buxton to fly out to right to end the threat.
Chapman then retired the Twins in order in the ninth for the win, and secured his 19th save of the year.
The loss dropped the Twins lead for the second wild card spot to 1.5 games while increasing their deficit to the Yankees to five games back.
The Twins and Yankees play the second of a three game set Tuesday in the Bronx at 6:05, with Jose Berrios (12-7) facing southpaw CC Sabathia (11-5).