Credit for Yankees win vs. Twins goes far beyond Judge’s 5 RBI, Rodon’s rampage

Yankees' Aaron Judge, Juan Soto and Alex-Verdugo celebrate after win over the Twins on June 6, 2024.

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In stark contrast to last year when the Yankees lost their season series against the Twins, New York has reclaimed their position atop the AL East, treating Minnesota as a lesser opponent once again. This trend continued on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium, where a lively crowd of 43,202 witnessed the Yankees’ early offensive burst lead to a 9-5 victory. A four-run first inning set the tone for the game.

Aaron Judge led the team’s charge with five RBIs and cleared bases twice giving the Yankees offense a big boost. Along with this season-high five RBIs from his captain, Carlos Rodon went on a rampage for six effective innings retiring 16. However, beyond these two big contributors, the team put in a wholesome effort. This included a spectacular catch by Alex Verdugo in the second inning, where he collided with the left-field fence. Juan Soto added to the win with both bat and ball.

Anthony Volpe acknowledged the quality of the opposing Twins but emphasized that when the Yankees played to their full potential, the identity of their opponent became less significant. He expressed confidence in the team’s ability to perform well against any competition.

“I feel like when we’re doing our thing and performing the way we’re capable of,’’ the Yankees shortstop said. “I don’t think the opponent really matters. We’ll take us over a lot of people.”

Yankees’ winning formula a collective effort

The Yankees, now riding a seven-game winning streak, remain tied with Philadelphia for the best record in the majors. Following a challenging 2023, they have reasserted their dominance, particularly against familiar foes like the Twins, as they continue to distance themselves from the competition in the American League.

Yankees' dugout celebrates after an RBI against the Twins on June 6, 2024.

In the first inning, the Yankees quickly attacked Twins starter Chris Paddack. Volpe led off with a 101 mph single to center, followed by a base hit from Juan Soto. Judge’s grounder scored Volpe, Giancarlo Stanton added an RBI single, and Anthony Rizzo, despite his recent struggles, doubled to left, advancing Stanton to third.

Gleyber Torres then hit a fly ball down the right-field line that a diving Manuel Margot couldn’t come up with, going for a two-run, ground-rule double to make it 4-0.  Paddack responded by retiring the next 10 batters in a row until DJ LeMahieu opened the bottom of the fifth with a walk. 

The Yankees broke the game open that inning, loading the bases before Judge cleared them with a triple. Judge then scored on a sacrifice fly by Verdugo on a close play at the plate – which ended with Minnesota catcher Ryan Jeffers’ glove somehow landing in front of the Yankees’ dugout after it popped off when Judge slid in.

“Definitely a hold-your-breath moment,” manager Aaron Boone said of the risky slide.

It was the Yankees’ second four-run inning of the game against the overmatched Twins.  

Yankees manager Boone acknowledged the challenge of managing his lineup, a group capable of scoring nine runs even without a home run. He praised the team’s overall offensive talent, highlighting the importance of home runs while also commending the hitters’ consistent ability to take quality at-bats throughout the game. For the second time this season, the Yankees went for nine runs without hitting a home run.

“It’s just a tough group to navigate,” he said. “We’ve got a really good offense. The homer is a big part of that, but what we’re seeing is a group of hitters night in and night out taking tough at-bats.”

Behind their relentless lineup and another strong pitching performance, the red-hot Yankees overwhelmed the struggling Twins to complete a two-game sweep and extend their winning streak to seven games.

Yankees showcase depth in victory over Twins

New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge follows through on a two-run triple against the Minnesota Twins during the fifth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, June 5, 2024, in New York.
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Anthony Volpe and Aaron Judge both extended their on-base streaks to 31 games during Wednesday’s matchup against the Twins. Volpe tallied three hits while Judge drove in five runs, including a game-breaking, bases-clearing triple in the fourth inning.

Giancarlo Stanton continued his clutch hitting, delivering a 115.5 mph RBI single to right-center in the first inning. Gleyber Torres maintained his hot streak with a hit in 11 of his last 13 games.

Even Rizzo, struggling recently, managed an opposite-field double, though his frustration showed with weak contact in his final three at-bats, culminating in him slamming his helmet in the dugout.

Carlos Rodón’s performance improved his record to 7-1 with a 2.87 ERA over his last nine starts. He has consistently allowed three runs or fewer in 12 of his 13 outings this season, with two or fewer in 10 of those games.

Wednesday’s game marked only the second time since last April that the Yankees scored nine runs without hitting a home run.

Judge has been on a tear, hitting .387/.506/.919 over his last 36 games, accumulating 36 runs, 13 doubles, 17 homers, 41 RBIs, and 30 walks. He joins Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, and Mickey Mantle as the only Yankees to have at least 41 extra-base hits through the team’s first 63 games.

Volpe and Mantle are the only Yankees age 23 or younger to achieve an on-base streak of 31-plus games in the last 85 years.

New York Yankees pitcher Carlos Rodon is at Yankee Stadium during his game against the Minnesota Twins on June 5, 2024, in New York.

Reliever Michael Tonkin, who pitched a scoreless ninth inning, has not allowed an earned run in 10 of his 11 appearances since being claimed off waivers from the Mets.

The Yankees, tied for the best record in MLB, showcased another complete team victory. With ace Gerrit Cole nearing a return from the IL, observers noted the team’s current dominance. However, there remains a cautionary tale from the 2022 season, where a strong first half did not translate into postseason success. This reminder underscores the importance of maintaining momentum through October.

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