Yanks top Twins in AL wild-card game, will play Indians next

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Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius and a brilliant bullpen rescued New York from a rugged start and lifted the Yankees to their first postseason win in five years.

Gregorius' three-run homer tied the score after Minnesota knocked out Luis Severino in the first inning, a pumped-up Judge showed his most emotion this season when he hit a two-run shot in his postseason debut and the Yankees beat the Twins 8-4 Tuesday night in the AL wild-card game.

Brett Gardner also homered for the Yankees, who chased Ervin Santana after two innings and once again knocked the Twins out of the playoffs.

Chad Green, David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle and Aroldis Chapman combined for 8 2/3 innings of one-run, five-hit relief.

New York opens the AL Division Series on Thursday at AL Central Cleveland. The Twins lost their 13th consecutive postseason game, tying the record set by Boston from 1986-95.

Brian Dozier led off the game with a home run and Eddie Rosario hit a two-run drive as the Twins burst to a quick lead and stunned the sellout crowd of 49,280 at Yankee Stadium.

But Santana was little better than Severino, going to full counts on eight of 11 batters. Gregorius erased the lead four batters into the bottom of the first, and Santana was removed after six outs and 64 pitches with the Twins trailing 4-3.

Minnesota, the first team to rebound from a 100-loss season and make the playoffs the following year, has been eliminated by the Yankees in five of its last six postseason appearances and has not won a playoff series since 2002.

Judge, the 6-foot-7 sensation who set a rookie record with 52 home runs, was given a Ruthian ovation, with several sections of fans holding signs in his honor spelling out "All Rise!" He scored three runs, singling to help ignite the first-inning rally, smoking a 108 mph home run off loser Jose Berrios in the fourth and walking in the seventh and coming home when Alan Busenitz walked Jacoby Ellsbury with the bases loaded.

New York had made just one postseason appearance since 2012, losing the 2015 wild-card game to Houston 3-0. Just three Yankees who started that game were in the starting lineup, part of a Baby Bombers movement that purged the roster of veterans.

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