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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The crowd was buzzing in Minnesota for Bartolo Colon's debut, a decent start by the burly 44-year-old that drew him a standing ovation despite a departure with no outs in the fifth inning after a breakthrough by New York.
Having overcome Colon, the Yankees found even more to celebrate afterward.
Gary Sanchez's two-run double ended Colon's night and sent the Yankees on their way to a 6-3 victory Tuesday over the Twins, who gave Colon his 514th major league start and became his 10th team.
"I feel happy. I want to thank the team and the fans for welcoming me with open arms like they did today," Colon said through an interpreter.
Colon (2-9) allowed eight hits and four runs with no walks and three strikeouts. He threw 82 pitches, including a called third strike on major league home run leader Aaron Judge with an 86 mph fastball that sent the rookie sensation back to the dugout to finish the first inning. He sprung off the mound to deftly field a slow roller and tag Garrett Cooper for the first out of the third.
Once the heart of the order came up a second time, though, balls were being hit a lot harder.
"When you don't put the pitches where they're supposed to be, they hit you hard," Colon said.
Colon, the 28th pitcher and 11th starter used by the Twins in 2017, started the season with the Atlanta Braves before being released.
"A lot of our guys have never seen him," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who faced Colon as a player. "I think that the movement that he has is still really good, so it took our guys a little time to figure him out."
Twins manager Paul Molitor once batted against Colon, too.
"I liked how he changed speeds on his fastball, and I thought he got in on the guys he was supposed to get in on and back-doored the guys he was supposed to," Molitor said. "But like I said, it could've turned out better, that's for sure."
Judge added an RBI single and Didi Gregorius hit a two-run home run off Ryan Pressly in the fifth after Colon was removed, as the Yankees woke up their slumbering offense. Their sputtering bullpen stepped up with 5 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of starter Luis Cessa, with Aroldis Chapman pitching a scoreless ninth for his 10th save. Chasen Shreve (3-1) picked up the win.
Then came the biggest boost of all.
The Yankees got third baseman Todd Frazier and relievers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle from the Chicago White Sox for reliever Tyler Clippard and three prospects in a trade that was announced after the game.
"We're in a tough stretch where we're not playing great and we go out there and make a move still, that makes you feel like the front office and the team believes in us," third baseman Chase Headley said. "So hopefully we can play the way that we have most of the season now."
Miguel Sano homered and Brian Dozier hit an RBI triple for the Twins, but they left 12 men on base.
With the Backstreet Boys blaring on the stadium speakers just before the home team took the field, and other pop hits from 1997 when Colon cracked the major leagues spinning throughout the night, the Twins had a good time welcoming their newest pitcher who's the oldest active player in baseball. LMFAO's irreverent "Sexy and I Know It" thumped during Colon's warmups at Target Field, the 45th major league ballpark at which he's taken the mound.
On the day Michael Pineda had Tommy John surgery, Cessa's performance underscored the need for another pitcher to stabilize the rotation. The 25-year-old native of Mexico was recalled from Triple-A to fill in, his fourth start of the season for the Yankees, with Monday starter Bryan Mitchell sent down to make room.
Cessa hit Sano with a pitch and walked three in a laborious first inning to quickly fall behind, and he was pulled with two outs in the fourth and a 3-1 deficit.
"It was pretty amazing. He walked three guys in the first inning and hit one and only gave up a run?" Girardi said. "He did a good job of controlling damage, but he just didn't have command."
Yankees: With 2B Starlin Castro on the bench to rest, Girardi said he will do the same Wednesday with Judge.
Twins: LHP Craig Breslow (rib soreness) returned from his rehab assignment, with 1B/DH Kennys Vargas going down to Triple-A with Molitor's preference to carry an eight-man bullpen for the time being.
Yankees: Rookie LHP Jordan Montgomery (6-4, 3.78 ERA) will take the mound in the series finale. He's 4-0 in his last eight starts, but the Yankees lost all four no-decisions and he completed six innings in only three of those turns.
Twins: RHP Jose Berrios (8-3, 3.70 ERA) will pitch Wednesday. He has allowed 28 hits and 20 runs, with 14 earned runs, in 19 innings over his last four starts.
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