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May 16, 2024 4:06 am

Aaron Judge, Yankees aim for sweep of Twins

Aaron Judge, Yankees, Twins

Hours after it happened, New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone marveled at Aaron Judge’s 467-foot home run into the third deck of the bleachers against the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday.

“As soon as it was hit, myself included, it was like you wanted to get to a position where you don’t miss where it’s going to land,” Boone said. “I even felt (Giancarlo Stanton) running up the steps to get in position to see it. That’s how that swing felt, and right away, it was one of those: Where’s this one going to land?”

Judge’s moonshot helped to lift the Yankees to their second win in as many games against the Twins. New York will look to complete a three-game sweep on Thursday afternoon when the teams meet in the series finale at Minneapolis.

The Yankees topped the Twins 5-1 on Tuesday, then prevailed 4-0 on Wednesday.

New York right-hander Clarke Schmidt (4-1, 2.95 ERA) will try to close out the sweep. He has won back-to-back starts, including his most recent performance against the Tampa Bay Rays in which he scattered five hits in 6 2/3 scoreless innings on Friday. He walked two and struck out six.

Schmidt is set to start against Minnesota for the first time in his career. He has faced the Twins in two relief outings, allowing four runs on five hits in 4 2/3 innings for a 7.71 ERA.

The Twins will counter with Joe Ryan (2-2, 3.21). The right-hander is coming off a win in his most recent start, when he held the Toronto Blue Jays to one run on six hits in seven innings on Friday.

In three career starts vs. the Yankees, Ryan is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA, having walked four and struck out 20 in 18 innings.

One of Ryan’s toughest tests could come against Judge, who has hit five homers in his past nine games. His blast Tuesday marked his 11th homer of the season, and he finished the night 4-for-4.

Judge deflected questions about his individual success over the past couple weeks. Instead, he credited teammates such as Anthony Volpe and Juan Soto with putting him in position to drive in runs on a regular basis.

“The two guys at the top of the lineup, Volpe and Soto, what they’ve been doing all year to allow all of us in the lineup to see some pitches — they’re always on base, they’re always causing havoc — I think that’s really what has been helping me out a lot the past couple weeks,” Judge said.

The Twins, meanwhile, will try to salvage a victory and prevent being swept after they won each of their previous six series.

Willi Castro drew boos from the home crowd after forgetting how many outs there were Tuesday night. He caught a fly ball for the second out but appeared to think the inning was over, which allowed the Yankees to score another run.

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said Castro made an honest mistake.

“This is a guy that is highly competitive, plays extremely hard, works as hard as anybody in our clubhouse, truly,” Baldelli said. “I know where his mind is and where his heart is on the field and as a teammate, and I chose to let him keep playing.”

–Field Level Media

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