NEW YORK – Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli was convinced Domingo Germán violated baseball’s clean-hands doctrine.
So just before the start of the fourth inning, Germán found an umpire addressing him sternly, inches from his face, the New York Yankees pitcher accused of having excessive sticky substance on his pitching hand and the opposing team demanding his ejection.
“It was intense. There was a moment there where maybe I felt that things were going to get out hand,” Germán said through an interpreter.
After an 5 1/2-minute interruption for inspection, discussion and Baldelli’s ejection, Germán was allowed to stay in the game. He retired his first 16 batters, struck out a career-high 11 over 6 1/3 innings and helped New York to a 6-1 win that stopped the Twins’ four-game winning streak.
Germán had rosin on his hand, was asked by crew chief James Hoye to wash it and allowed some to remain on a pinkie finger.
“He was warned. He didn’t fully comply I would say with the warning from what I was told,” Baldelli said. “When he returned and it was still on there partially, on part of his hand, I didn’t think there was really any question he should be removed from the game.”
Kyle Higashioka and Anthony Rizzo homered early to build a three-run lead and Giancarlo Stanton had a two-run double for the Yankees, who rebounded from their first consecutive losses this season.
Major League Baseball began a crackdown on banned grip aides in June 2021 and last month called for heightened checks. Just two pitchers have been ejected for foreign sustances: Seattle’s Héctor Santiago and Arizona’s Caleb Smith, both for 10 games in 2021.
Having allowed six runs over 7 2/3 innings in his first two starts, Germán caught the Twins’ attention with his success in the early innings – he struck out the side in the first, finishing all three at-bats with changeups.
During the now-routine checks, the 30-year-old right-hander was told by Hoye in the middle of the third to remove rosin.
“It was basically wash your hands,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
Hoye checked Germán before the fourth, found rosin on the pinkie and called second base umpire D.J. Reyburn in for a second opinion. Hoye determined there was less tackiness than during the prior check.
Then came the long discussion that included Boone and team translator Marlon Abreu.
“I was able to explain it and tell him I have a rosin bag that’s in the area of the dugout where I sit, where I sit all the time,” Germán said.
“So then we got together and said, ‘Is this a foreign substance that affected the flight of the ball?’” Hoye said. “We didn’t feel it rose to the foreign substance standard of affecting the flight, affecting his pitching.”
Baldelli was angered by what he saw unfolding.
“There’s an entire huddle of Yankees basically all around the umpires while they’re trying to have a discussion on the field and then he casually can just walk to the mound and keep pitching,” the manager said. “It kind of goes against a lot of the things that we’ve talked about this year and some of the adjustments that we’re making in baseball.”
Germán (1-1) didn’t allow a hit until his 66th pitch when Christian Vázquez singled up the middle on a fastball with a 2-1 count. He gave up three hits and left to a loud ovation. Michael King allowed an RBI double to José Miranda – Lin-Manuel’s cousin – and finished the five-hitter.
After Hoye allowed Germán to take the mound in the fourth, Baldelli came out of the dugout and jabbed an arm repeatedly. He told Hoye the umpire was going to have to eject the manager, who was replaced by bench coach Jayce Tingler.
“I wasn’t going to go out on the field and return to the dugout, on principle,” Baldelli said.
Tyler Mahle (1-2) allowed four runs – two earned – four hits and three walks in 4 1/3 innings.
Carlos Correa went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts for the Twins, ending his streak of home runs in four straight games at Yankee Stadium.
Yankees rookie Anthony Volpe stole three bases, including second and third in the eighth, and is 6 for 6.
Twins: RF Max Kepler (right patellar tendinitis) was activated from the IL and went 0 for 3. OF Joey Gallo (right intercostal strain) likely will be activated Tuesday or Wednesday.
Yankees: Boone was unsure whether 3B Josh Donaldson (right hamstring) will be activated Sunday or sent on a rehab assignment. … OF Harrison Bader is expected to start a minor league rehabilitation assignment next week.
RHP Gerrit Cole (3-0) starts Sunday’s series finale for the Yankees and RHP Pablo López (1-0) for the Twins, who have not won a four-game series in the Bronx since 1969.