NEW YORK (AP) — Domingo German already possessed an impressive fastball, curve and changeup. This year, he’s added two equally important elements to his repertoire — confidence and concentration.
German kept delivering on a wet, raw afternoon, tying for the major league lead with his sixth win as the New York Yankees stopped the Minnesota Twins 4-1 Sunday in a game called in the bottom of the eighth inning because of rain.
“All his pitches again,” praised manager Aaron Boone. “Really good effort.”
Mike Tauchman hit a two-run homer to help New York win for the 11th time in 15 games. The Twins lost two of three after coming into Yankee Stadium this weekend with the best record in the majors.
It was 51, windy and damp at gametime, and the start was pushed back three hours in advance to avoid an expected storm. Still, rain fell for most of the day and pelted the park hard in the late innings before the game was halted.
Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez fell on the slippery grass retrieving a passed ball, pitchers pawed with their cleats at the muddy mound and infielders chased gust-blown popups. Then the weather got worse and play became sloppy.
“The wind was really bad. I think it was actually affecting the way the ball was moving, even from a pitcher’s standpoint, which is pretty rare,” Twins catcher Jason Castro said. “You don’t see wind affect the way a pitcher’s ball moves. That was tough.”
German (6-1) stayed in control, giving up one run and four hits in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out seven and threw a career-high 108 pitches.
The 26-year-old right-hander with a 2.35 ERA matched Tampa Bay’s Tyler Glasnow for most wins in the majors. It made for an unlikely duo atop the leaderboard — German had a career record of 2-7 going into this season and Glasnow was 4-16.
“I think the first thing I would say is confidence,” German said through a translator. His turnaround, he added, was boosted by an attitude of “never lose your concentration.”
Boone said that back in spring training, the Yankees felt German would be a key contributor. They just weren’t sure what role he’d play on a team that became beset by injuries.
“I think we did think he’d be a huge part of it,” Boone said.
Yankees reliever Tommy Kahnle struck out Max Kepler with two on to end the seventh with a 4-1 lead. Aroldis Chapman fanned Marwin Gonzalez with two on to finish the eighth, and got his seventh save in eight chances.
Michael Pineda (2-3) struck out eight in five inconsistent innings.
Pineda’s previous start at Yankee Stadium was July 5, 2017, the final game he pitched for the Yankees before undergoing Tommy John surgery. He missed the 2018 season while recovering, and returned this year with the Twins.
“Today is a big day for me. I’m going back to pitch at Yankee Stadium, but I play for the Minnesota Twins right now,” he said.
“I felt excited, but I tried to control my emotions and focus on my game. Make good pitches. That was my focus today,” he said.
Tauchman struck out with the bases loaded in the second, but lined a two-out drive in the fourth for a 4-1 lead. Pineda slapped his shin as the ball sailed out.
Kahnle fanned the only hitter he faced. Opposing batters are 0 for 28 with two walks in his last 11 appearances.
NOT THIS YEAR, EITHER
The Twins haven’t won a series at Yankee Stadium since 2014. They had lost nine in a row overall at the park until winning Saturday.
Minnesota has won two in a row in the Bronx in the same season just once since 2001, doing it in 2013.
Yankees: Ace Luis Severino (lat strain) isn’t expected back until after the All-Star break, general manager Brian Cashman told Sirius XM. SS Didi Gregorius (rotator cuff) could begin DH duty in extended spring training on May 20 and reliever Dellin Betances (shoulder impingement) is expected back in June, Cashman said. ... OF Clint Frazier (sprained ankle) will rejoin the team Monday, Boone said. LHP Stephen Tarpley was sent to Triple-A after the game.
Twins: LHP Martin Perez (4-0, 3.41 ERA) starts at Toronto vs. RHP Marcus Stroman (1-4, 2.20). Perez threw a team-high eight innings in his last outing, blanking Houston.
Yankees: LHP CC Sabathia (1-1, 2.66) pitches at home against Seattle RHP Felix Hernandez (1-2, 4.31). In his previous start, Sabathia became the third lefty to record 3,000 career strikeouts.