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Aaron Judge’s 5 RBIs lead Yankees over Twins 9-5 for 7th straight win and 18th in 22 games

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NEW YORK (AP) — Aaron Judge drove in five runs, Carlos Rodón retired his first 16 batters and the New York Yankees matched their longest winning streak of the season at seven by beating the Minnesota Twins 9-5 Wednesday night.

New York has won 18 of 22 games and is tied with Philadelphia for the best record in the major leagues at 44-19.

Backed by a four-run first inning, Rodón (8-2) won his career-best sixth straight start. He didn’t allow a hit until Carlos Santana drove a fastball into the right-field seats in the sixth.

Judge put the Yankees ahead with an RBI groundout against Chris Paddack (4-3), hit a three-run triple off Diego Castillo in a four-run fifth as New York opened an 8-0 lead and had a bases loaded walk against Josh Staumont in the sixth. Judge has 54 RBIs and moved one ahead of Juan Soto for the team lead. Only Cleveland’s José Ramírez (58) has more.

“The boys scoring runs like that makes it a lot easier to go out there and fill the zone and try to get outs,” Rodón said.

Judge slid home on Alex Verdugo’s sacrifice fly, a knee knocking catcher Ryan Jeffers’ glove all the way to the Yankees dugout.

New York has won six straight against the Twins dating to last season and is 106-42 against Minnesota since 2002. The Yankees are 5-0 against the Twins this year, outscoring them 28-7 (19-2).

“We weren’t really close to where we needed to be today,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We need to do a lot better. So that’s not just one sector of our team, that’s our whole team.”

Minnesota’s Royce Lewis homered in the seventh off Dennis Santana on his 25th birthday, a day after Lewis went deep in his return from a strained right quadriceps that sidelined him for 58 games. Lewis became the first player in franchise history to homer in his first three games of a season.

Rodón allowed two runs and three hits in six innings, striking out nine and walking none. Opponents have a .197 batting average in his last six starts.

He benefited from three excellent defensive plays.

Verdugo made a sprinting, backhand catch while running face first into the left-center field wall on Byron Buxton’s drive for the final out of the second. Shortstop Anthony Volpe sprawled on the outfield grass for a backhand stop on Carlos Santana’s grounder in the third, then popped up and made a one-hop throw to first. Soto made a jumping catch to pull Manuel Margot’s foul out of the right-field stands in the fourth while competing with a fan for the fly.

Santana homered on Rodón’s 73rd pitch.

Paddack, wearing matching red on his long undershirt sleeves, cleats and glove, allowed seven runs and six hits in four-plus innings. He has given up 12 runs and 18 hits in nine innings against the Yankees this season.

“Not the outing that I wanted, especially at Yankee Stadium.” Paddack said. “These are big moments you dream about as a kid. I’ve come here twice now, and it hasn’t been great.”

Paddack averaged 95 mph with his fastball, up 1.8 mph over his season average. His ERA rose to 5.26.

“I’m challenging myself probably this whole month just not to look up there and see a 5.00 ERA,” Paddack said. “I’m a better pitcher than that. I know that. My teammates know that.”

After Judge put the Yankees ahead, Giancarlo Stanton had an RBI single and Gleyber Torres a two-run double on a fly down the right-field line that nicked off the glove of a diving Margot. New York has 47 runs in the first inning, one behind Philadelphia’s MLB-leading total.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Yankees: RHP Gerrit Cole (right elbow nerve inflammation and edema) is likely to make at least two more minor league rehabilitation starts, putting the AL Cy Young Award winner on track for a possible return to New York’s rotation in mid-to-late June.

UP NEXT

RHP Marcus Stroman (5-2, 2.73) is 3-0 in his last four starts going into Thursday night’s series finale against Minnesota and RHP Pablo López (5-5, 4.84).

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

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