The Yankees beat the Twins on Monday in a potential wild card game preview

Jaime Garcia (NYDailyNews.Com

The Yankees defeated the Twins 2–1 on Monday night in a pitchers duel won by the home team. This was the first game of the series and this win gave the team their eighth win in their last 10 games.

The Yankees are still three games out in the division due to Boston’s win on Monday but are now five whole games ahead of the Twins for the first wild card spot.

“I think it’s important,” Joe Girardi said when asked about winning the first game of the series. I said this is a big series for both teams and for us for a number of reasons. To be able to win the first one like this, Santana has thrown the ball extremely well, he threw the ball well tonight, and we were able to get a couple off of him.”

Jaime Garcia had by far his best performance in his time with the Yankees. Garcia, who the Yankees acquired at the end of July from the Twins for more rotation depth in exchange for minor leaguers Zack Littell and Dietrich Enns, tossed 5.2 innings and didn’t allow an earned run (one overall).

Garcia didn’t allow a walk while tying his season-high with nine strikeouts. Garcia allowed at least three walks in each of his first five games with the Yankees, but in his last two games he has combined to allow just one walk.

“The job that Jaime did, just fabulous,” Girardi said. “Just an outstanding start, and these guys have been swinging the bats. Just an outstanding start on his part.”

David Robertson won his ninth game of the season in relief. That is more wins than any relief pitcher in baseball. In relief of Garcia, Robertson pitched 1.1 innings while striking out two batters and not allowing a hit.

Robertson threw a strike in 11 of his 15 pitches and now has an ERA of 2.02. He has been stellar for the Yankees in the last few weeks as in his last nine games (12 innings) he has not given up a run while allowing only three hits and striking out 13 batters. He has been pitching so well that Girardi has shown a willingness to pitch him in different situations.

Dellin Betances was inconsistent and didn’t have command of the strike zone once again since he came into the game to begin the eighth and was only able to get one out. He walked two batters and only threw a strike in six of his 17 pitches.

It might be time to demote Betances for about a week like they did with Aroldis Chapman a few weeks ago. Betances has eight walks, two homers allowed and seven earned runs in his last 7.1 innings pitched (nine games). Betances’s ERA has gone up from 2.34 to 3.02 in the last nine games.

The two walks did not hurt the Yankees as their closer was absolutely dominant.

Aroldis Chapman came into the game with one out in the eighth inning and could not have performed better. He pitched 1.2 flawless innings in his first game since Wednesday.

This was the first time that he had pitched more than 1.1 innings since July 27. Chapman has now not allowed a run in his last seven innings while only giving up two hits and striking out 12 batters in this stretch of games in September.

“Chappy as of late has been really, really good,” Joe Girardi said about Chapman’s performance after coming in with runners on first and second. Those are two big outs. You are facing Joe Mauer, who puts the ball in play and doesn’t strike out a lot and is able to strike him out, and {Brian} Buxton has been swinging really well especially against left handers.”

“Those are two big outs and then to get the final three was just a huge performance by him,” Chapman said.

Chapman’s strike 3 that struck out Eduardo Escobar that was 103.6 mph (rounds up to 104 mph) was the fastest strike three in Major League Baseball this season, according to the YES Network.

In the first inning, to give the Yankees a 1–0 lead, Rookie of the Year in waiting Aaron Judge hit his 44th homer of the season. He is only five homers away from tying Mark McGwire for the most homers in a season by a rookie. Judge, who has five homers and 10 RBI in his last eight games, will get MVP consideration since he leads the AL in homers, runs scored, slugging percentage and OPS and is 5th in the league in RBI with 97.

Todd Frazier had the RBI that ended up winning the game for the Bronx Bombers. In the sixth inning, the veteran Frazier hit a sacrifice fly that drove in Chase Headley. This was the second run that the Yankees scored off of Ervin Santana.

Brett Gardner, who had three hits, was the only Yankee with a multi-hit game. Gardner also has 20 homers and 22 steals this season, which means he has been able to produce his first 20+ homer and 20+ steal season of his career.

CC Sabathia will get the start for the Yankees in Game Two of this series, which will begin at approximately 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday. Sabathia has allowed two runs or less in four of his last five starts.