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Judge power fuels Yankees in 4-0 win over Twins as slugger hits 3rd-deck homer and 3 doubles

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Aaron Judge followed a 467-foot home run with three hard-hit doubles, driving in two runs for the New York Yankees in a 4-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night.

“You don’t even feel it, when you get it on the barrel like that,” said a smiling Judge, who is 16 for 36 with eight walks over his last 10 games.

Marcus Stroman (3-2) threw six scoreless innings for his first win in four starts, allowing only a double, a single and three walks as the Yankees kept up their decades-long dominance of the Twins.

Anthony Volpe had a sacrifice fly and Giancarlo Stanton added an RBI single for the Yankees (29-15), who collected eight of their 13 hits from Judge, Alex Verdugo and Stanton in the third, fourth and fifth spots.

The Yankees have outscored the Twins 9-1 and outhit them 26-11 in winning the first two games of the series, improving to 118-44 against them since 2002. That’s the best record by any major league club against any intraleague opponent over that 23-season span.

The Yankees, who have won 10 of their last 13 games, improved to 30-15 at Target Field. That’s the highest winning percentage by any team to play a minimum of 15 games over the ballpark’s 15 seasons.

Twins starter Pablo López (4-3) surrendered a season-high 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings. He gave up three runs.

This stacked Yankees lineup produced plenty of solid contact all night, none more resounding or damaging than the five-time All-Star and 2022 American League MVP Judge. According to MLB’s Statcast data, Judge hit 1,588 feet worth of fly balls in his first four at-bats.

The homer, his 11th of the season, reached the third deck above left field off a first-pitch fastball.

“As soon as it was hit, myself included, it was like you want to get to a position where you don’t miss where it’s going to land,” said manager Aaron Boone, who felt Stanton run up the steps to watch.

Judge, who finished 4 for 4 with a walk, hit it 113 mph off the bat.

“It looked like a home run derby homer to me. I just turned around and saw the thing looked like that,” said López, forming a tiny circle with his thumb and index finger. “We don’t see many dudes that tall, so when you’re going up, you better get it, like, up, higher than high.”

Willi Castro, who has played center field for the majority of Byron Buxton’s 12-game absence with inflammation in his right knee, had a rough night for the Twins (24-18). He caught Volpe’s medium-depth fly ball for the second out of the second, but — believing the inning was over — started jogging toward the infield before realizing his mistake and hastily throwing the ball in.

Gleyber Torres likely would have scored anyway, but the gaffe clearly frustrated Castro. He caught the third out, too, and quickly whirled around to chuck the ball high into the seats behind right-center.

“He needs to do a better job of controlling himself, but I know why he’s feeling the way he’s feeling,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “The only way to get that right is to, I think, keep playing him.”

Buxton began a two-game rehab assignment with Triple-A St. Paul on Wednesday night, going 0 for 3 with two strikeouts.

UP NEXT

Yankees RHP Clarke Schmidt (4-1, 2.95 ERA) takes the mound on Thursday afternoon. RHP Joe Ryan (2-2, 3.21) pitches for the Twins.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB

By DAVE CAMPBELL
AP Sports Writer

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