MINNEAPOLIS — Gary Sanchez had three hits including a mammoth home run, J.A. Happ tossed six shutout innings and the New York Yankees continued their mastery of the Minnesota Twins with a 7-2 win on Monday night.
The Yankees increased their lead over idle Oakland to three games for the first AL wild-card spot.
New York has beaten Minnesota nine straight times, including last year's wild card game, outscoring the Twins 66-23. The Yankees are 20-4 in the teams' last 24 meetings since July 25, 2015.
Happ (16-6) allowed six hits and struck out three. Acquired from Toronto on July 26, the left-hander has allowed two or fewer runs in six of eight starts for New York, going 6-0 with a 2.70 ERA.
Kyle Gibson (7-13) allowed four hits and one earned run in 5 2/3 innings. He was one batter away from tossing six shutout innings before Sanchez crushed low 2-2 fastball 460 feet into the third deck in left field.
Before the bomb, Sanchez was 3 for 29 since coming off the disabled list on Sept. 1.
New York's first eight batters reached base in a six-run seventh. Miguel Andujar had a two-run double and later scored on a double by Giancarlo Stanton, who had been in a 3-for-35 slump. Didi Gregorius doubled home Stanton.
New York was 5 for 17 with runners in scoring position after going 4 for 35 in its previous six games.
JUDGE GETS HIS CUTS
Yankees slugger Aaron Judge took on-field batting practice for the first time since fracturing his right wrist on July 26.
The session included home runs to multiple fields by the 2017 AL Rookie of the Year.
"It went really well; another big step for him to get out on the field," manager Aaron Boone said.
Twins left fielder Johnny Field made a sliding grab in the fifth to rob Andujar of a hit and save two runs. Third baseman Andujar returned the favor in the bottom of the inning, snaring a sharp liner by Field.
Yankees: 1B Luke Voit has been dealing with back stiffness for a couple of days and wants to play through it, but Greg Bird got the start.
Twins: 3B Miguel Sano missed his fifth straight game with lower left leg issues — including a sore knee that he sustained sliding into second base last Tuesday. ... 1B Tyler Austin went through hitting drills and took batting practice but missed his fourth straight game with a stiff back.
To provide extra rest for Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka, New York's Sonny Gray (10-8) is scheduled for a spot start on Tuesday. Removed from the rotation in early August, Gray tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings in his last spot start, on Aug. 25 in Baltimore. Minnesota planned to announce its starter after Monday's game.
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