NEW YORK — The weather felt a little like October in the Bronx for the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader against the Twins. But the Yankees lineup felt like it was mid-March and the teams were playing a spring training game.
Aaron Judge (who hit his 55th home run), Gleyber Torres and Isiah Kiner-Falefa were the only starters in the order, and Kiner-Falefa was playing third base with Josh Donaldson on the paternity list.
Recently promoted Ronald Guzman and Miguel Andujar were 4-5 in the lineup and combined to go 0-for-9 with six strikeouts. Rookies Oswaldo Cabrera, Estevan Florial and Oswald Peraza started, as did backup catcher Kyle Higashioka.
Judge and Torres each homered and the Yankees continued their domination of the Twins by scoring two runs in the 12th inning to take a 5-4 comeback victory on Cabrera’s two-out, walk-off single.
The Yankees are 113-39 against the Twins since 2002 and 23-2 vs. Minnesota since 2015 in the Bronx, both including postseason.
It was the Yankees’ 14th walk-off win of the season.
The Yankees had been 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and were trailing 4-3 -- the Twins took the lead on Gilberto Celestino’s RBI single in the top of the 12th -- when Kiner-Falefa opened the bottom half with a game-tying single to center to score ghost runner Marwin Gonzalez.
Kiner-Falefa stole second and moved to third on Jose Trevino’s single to right. Kiner-Falefa stopped at third, but Trevino kept going toward second, was caught in a rundown, but everyone was safe when the Twins tried to get Kiner-Falefa going back to third.
After Peraza – who had the first three hits of his big-league career – hit a short fly ball to left, Cabrera lined a single to left to end the four-hour, three-minute opener.
Bay Shore native Greg Weissert (3-0) picked up his third win in his sixth big-league appearance.
Peraza had three hits – the first three of his big-league career. The rookies are getting it done at a time when the Yankees are desperate for healthy, productive position players.
“It seems to me that everything they’re doing, they’re doing well,” Domingo German, who started and allowed three runs in six innings, said through an interpreter. “They bring so much energy to the clubhouse. They’re focused, they’re paying attention, they’re executing. You can see the energy they bring. Even when it’s a high-adrenaline game, they still go out there and perform. It’s a good sign of how good they’re going to be in the future because they are doing it now.”
Cabrera also helped keep the game tied in the 10th when he threw out ghost runner Celestino at the plate on a single to right. It was Cabrera’s fifth outfield assist in 12 games in right.
“Love his poise and his makeup,” manager Aaron Boone said. “He’s not afraid. More great defensive plays tonight.”
After the Yankees fell behind 3-0, Judge led off the fourth with a homer to left. Judge went deep in his fourth consecutive game. It was his 114th home run at the current Yankee Stadium, the most since the building opened in 2009. Judge was tied with Mark Teixeira.
Judge is six home runs shy of Roger Maris’ American League record of 61 from 1961. The Yankees had 26 games left going into Wednesday’s nightcap.
Judge went 1-for-3. He was intentionally walked with two outs in the eighth with the potential go-ahead run on second. Torres, who had tied the game with a two-run homer in the sixth, lined out to right.
Judge was also intentionally walked to open the 11th with the ghost runner on second.
Judge’s blast came off Twins starter Louie Varland, who went 5 1/3 innings and was charged with two runs in his major league debut.
Varland had a contingent of fans on the third-base side who showed up to cheer him on. The group yelled “Louuuu” after each of the rookie’s seven strikeouts and generally made the most noise during the sparsely-attended game, which was a makeup of Tuesday’s rainout.
The Twins took a 2-0 lead three batters into the game on Jose Miranda’s two-run home run. Celestino added a two-out RBI single in the fourth.
Peraza, who started at short, had a double to left in the third (the first hit off Varland), a bloop single to right in the sixth and a ground single inside first in the eighth.