NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez launched back-to-back homers, and Didi Gregorius also went deep as the Yankees continued to fire on all cylinders in pursuit of a postseason berth, completing a series sweep of the Twins with an 11-3 victory on Wednesday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
Judge connected for his American League-leading 45th homer and Sanchez hit his 32nd homer, tops among all big league catchers, as the Yankees thumped Bartolo Colon for six runs in 3 1/3 innings. Yankees batters collected 15 hits, eight for extra bases, as the Bombers (85-67) secured their 10th win in 12 games to move a season-high 18 games over .500.
"It was just an example of guys having quality at-bats all day," Judge said. "We started off a little slow, and then we just turned it on. Hitting is contagious. Once one guy starts getting a couple of knocks, it just feeds into the next at-bat."
Gregorius hit his 25th blast off Tyler Duffey as part of a six-run fourth inning, surpassing Derek Jeter's 24 homers in 1999 to set a single-season mark for a Yankees shortstop. New York's win keeps it three games behind Boston in the American League East after the Red Sox shut out the Orioles Wednesday night in Baltimore.
The sweep swelled the Yankees' lead over the Twins for the first AL Wild Card to seven games. New York's magic number to secure a postseason spot was reduced to three after the Angels lost to the Indians on Wednesday night in Anaheim. Minnesota leads the Angels by a game and a half for the second AL Wild Card spot.
"Obviously, we're in a better spot than maybe we were Sept. 1, but there are no guarantees," manager Joe Girardi said. "You have to continue to play well. If you're fortunate enough to get into the playoffs, you want to be playing well at that time. We will continue to do everything we can to win every game and see where we fall."
The Yankees' bullpen filled in nicely behind Luis Severino, who exited early after throwing 46 pitches in the Twins' two-run third inning. Severino tossed 71 pitches in all before yielding to Chasen Shreve, who earned the victory with three innings of scoreless, hitless relief.
"I've had better trips to New York," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Guys asked before the series about getting swept, and in reality, that's what happened. We've got 10 games, and my goal right now is to get these guys back in a positive frame of mind."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED And belly to belly: Judge's two-run shot hooked inside the right-field foul pole and made him just the eighth player in Yankees history to reach 100 runs, 100 RBIs and 100 walks in the same season. It was Judge's first career home run on an 0-2 count; he has now homered on every possible count but 3-0. Sanchez then erased the Twins' early lead with a long drive to center field that landed on the netting covering Monument Park.
"They've been producing all year," said Greg Bird, who went 3-for-4 in the win. "When they go, we go, I guess. Really, this lineup is great. It's fun to be a part of, and it's fun to watch those two play and hit and do their thing."
Yes in-Didi: The Yanks pulled away in the fourth as Colon retired just one of the four batters he faced in the inning. All of them would come around to score, as Brett Gardner and Sanchez knocked RBI singles to set up Gregorius' three-run homer to right field. Despite missing most of the season's first month due to injury, Gregorius' 25 homers and 84 RBIs shattered his season highs from 2016, when he collected 20 homers and 70 RBIs.
"I'm showing a little bit of power, more than last year,' Gregorius said. "For me, the most important thing is winning. There's records, but we still have a couple of games left to play, and our main goal is to try to win a ring and a championship. That's what is most important."
FAN HIT BY FOUL
A foul ball off the bat of Todd Frazier struck a young fan in the stands down the left-field line in the fifth inning. Play was halted briefly as the fan received medical attention and was taken to a nearby hospital. Frazier and several Twins players in the field looked on, clearly shaken.
"They told us it hit a little girl ... we got a report that she's OK," Girardi said. "Obviously, you could see the concern on everyone in the ballpark -- the players, the umpires, the fans. It's disturbing when it happens, and it's hard for a player when it happens." More >
"We don't want to get ahead of ourselves, but there's a possibility we come back here, and that's our goal. We're turning the page but not forgetting what we read. Our objective tomorrow is to win one game against the Tigers." -- Twins second baseman Brian Dozier
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
In 29 games since Aug. 22, the Yankees have scored a Major League-best 181 runs, averaging 6.24 runs per game over that span.
WHAT'S NEXT Twins: Minnesota will look to increase its lead on the second AL Wild Card spot with a four-game series against the Tigers that begins on Thursday at 6:10 p.m. CT. Rookie left-hander Adalberto Mejia (4-6, 4.62 ERA) will start the opener. He scuffled in his last start in his return from the disabled list after missing a month with a left biceps strain, allowing three runs in three-plus innings against the Blue Jays.
Yankees: Following their final off-day of the regular season on Thursday, the Yanks will open a three-game series against the Blue Jays on Friday at 7:07 p.m. ET. Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (12-11, 4.73 ERA) will start the opener. He is coming off a win over the Orioles in which he allowed two solo homers over seven innings, striking out eight.