Bartolo Colon faltered in the fifth inning after a decent start by the burly 44-year-old, whose Minnesota debut ended with a two-run double by Gary Sanchez that sent the New York Yankees on their way to a 6-3 victory over the Twins on Tuesday night.
Making his 514th major league start and joining his 10th team, Colon allowed eight hits and four runs with no walks and three strikeouts. He left to a standing ovation with no outs in the fateful fifth, despite the lackluster box score line in the end.
Aaron 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 amid speculation they were working on a trade with the Chicago White Sox for third baseman Todd Frazier and relief pitcher David Robertson.
Miguel Sano homered and Brian Dozier hit an RBI triple for the Twins, but they left 12 men on base.
The sputtering New York 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.
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.
Colon (2-9) threw 82 pitches, including a called third strike on Judge with an 86 mph fastball that sent the major league home run leader 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 against Colon, the 11th starting pitcher used by the Twins in 2017. Gregorius and Ronald Torreyes each had three hits.
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. The 25-year-old native of Mexico was recalled from Triple-A to fill in, his fourth start of the season for the Yankees, and Monday starter Bryan Mitchell was sent to Triple-A to make room on the roster.
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 at manager Paul 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.