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Sabathia strong in Yankees win over Twins

Minnesota Twins first baseman Joe Mauer (7) bunts for a single against the New York Yankees during the first inning at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night. Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK -- CC Sabathia pitched six solid innings as the New York Yankees widened their lead in the wild-card race with a 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night.

After the first pitch was delayed 65 minutes by heavy rain, Sabathia (12-5) helped the Yankees (84-67) take a six-game lead over the Twins (78-73) for the first American League wild card while remaining three games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East.

Sabathia allowed two runs and six hits while working through bases-loaded jams in his first and sixth innings.

The left-hander improved to 3-0 in six starts since a brief stint on the disabled list with a right knee injury. He struck out five, issued one intentional walk and threw 77 pitches.

The biggest pitch thrown by Sabathia also was his last while protecting a two-run lead. The Twins had runners at second and third after Jorge Polanco stole second and the Yankees intentionally walked Byron Buxton.

Sabathia's next pitch was a 79 mph breaking ball, and Eddie Rosario harmlessly lifted it into left fielder Brett Gardner's glove.

Chad Green and David Robertson pitched a scoreless inning apiece before Aroldis Chapman recorded his 20th save.

Gardner also helped the Yankees win for the 14th time in 19 games with a RBI double and a run-scoring single. He finished 3-for-5. Aaron Judge lifted a sacrifice fly and scored his 118th run on a base hit by Starlin Castro in the sixth.

New York's other run scored on an error by first baseman Joe Mauer on a ground ball by Greg Bird in the fifth.

Max Kepler hit his 18th homer and first against a left-hander, and Minnesota's other run scored on a bases-loaded, double-play grounder by Eduardo Escobar.

Minnesota's Jose Berrios (12-8) labored through 3 1/3 innings, allowing three runs, five hits and four walks. It matched his second-shortest start of the season.

The Twins took a 1-0 lead after bunting twice on Sabathia. Following bunt singles by Mauer and Polanco, Minnesota went ahead when Escobar grounded into a double play.

The Yankees tied it at 1 on a double to left by Gardner but Kepler reached the second in right field on the second pitch of the third for a 2-1 lead.

New York took a 3-2 lead in the fourth on a single by Gardner and Judge's sacrifice fly after Berrios exited. The Yankees loaded the bases in the fifth and added another run when Mauer misplayed Bird's grounder to first for an error.

NOTES: Twins 3B Miguel Sano (left shin) flew back to Minnesota on Tuesday night after dealing with a personal matter in New York. Manager Paul Molitor said he was unsure if Sano would be able to play rehab games in the Instructional League since the facility in Fort Myers, Fla. was damaged by Hurricane Irma. ... RHP Masahiro Tanaka will start Friday's game at Toronto instead of Wednesday afternoon. RHP Luis Severino will pitch for New York on Wednesday against Twins RHP Bartolo Colon. ... New York LF Brett Gardner extended his hitting streak to 10 games with his RBI double in the second inning.

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