Nothing — not the Twins’ batters or their coaches or the umpires — could disrupt Domingo German on Saturday afternoon.
The Yankees righty was dominant, the opposing manager was angry and the umpires were active during a 6-1 win over the Twins in front of 38,363 in The Bronx.
The Yankees (9-6) now have won one of the first three games against Minnesota before the series finale Sunday afternoon.
German, who was not even a surefire rotation member before injuries struck this spring, took a perfect game into the sixth inning, weaving his way around both Twins batters and a substance controversy to start the fourth inning.
After he struck out six in his first three perfect innings, German was stopped by crew chief James Hoye for a lengthy substance check while coming off the mound following the top of the third.
German had rosin on his hand, which is legal, but the umpiring crew was alert for two reasons: There was “a level” of the substance, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said, and German rarely used the rosin bag by the mound.
German, as he later explained, typically applies rosin in the dugout.
Hoye told German to wash his hands between innings.
When German made his way back to the mound for the top of the fourth, Hoye intercepted him again before he reached the foul line, and there was still some tackiness on his hand.
For several minutes, Hoye talked with German, Boone and team interpreter Marlon Abreu.
“It was intense,” German, whose spin rates appeared to be at normal levels, said through Abreu. “There was a moment there where I thought things were going to get out of hand.”
Because the substance was rosin, the crew allowed him to remain in the game. But Twins manager Rocco Baldelli did not last into the fourth.
He argued with the umpires and was ejected.
German “didn’t fully comply, I would say, with the warning from what I was told and was still allowed to keep pitching,” Baldelli said after the game. “That’s it. I just don’t agree with that in principle.”
Perhaps German can take any suspicions as a compliment: He was often unhittable and retired the first 16 batters he faced.
The Twins did not get a batted ball past the infield until Donovan Solano flew out to end the top of the fifth inning.
They did not have a ball touch the outfield grass until there was one out in the sixth inning, when Christian Vazquez hit a single up the middle to break up German’s bid for perfection.
“Good life to his fastball and he used it, but had a really good curveball going, too,” Boone said of German, who said he had “no reaction” to Baldelli’s anger.
German went from flirting with perfection to flirting with danger. Michael A. Taylor followed Vazquez with his own single to put two on with one out in a game the Yankees led, 4-0.
But German retired Edouard Julien on a groundout and got Yankees killer Carlos Correa — who had homered in two games straight — to fly out for the final out of the frame.
In all, German (1-1) allowed three hits and one run in 6 ¹/₃ innings in which he struck out a career-best 11.
In his previous start, German failed to strike out a batter and walked five in Cleveland on Monday.
“We wanted to adjust mechanically a little bit, use my lanes better,” said German, who left the game in the seventh inning after a Trevor Larnach double.
Michael King entered and allowed an RBI double to Jose Miranda and a single to Solano.
But King got Max Kepler to hit into a double play to escape further trouble, then threw scoreless eighth and ninth innings.
The Yankees were more efficient than excellent offensively, scoring six runs on six hits and five walks.
They struck first in the second inning, when Tyler Mahle booted a soft comebacker, putting Franchy Cordero on first base.
With two outs in an inning that should have been over, Kyle Higashioka ensured that error mattered, belting a two-run homer into the Yankees’ bullpen in right-center.
The Yankees added another run in the third, when Anthony Rizzo used the short porch in right for his fourth home run of the season.
DJ LeMahieu’s fourth-inning single drove in Anthony Volpe, and Giancarlo Stanton crushed a double to plate two more runs in the seventh.
It represented a normal finish to an abnormal game.
“I don’t think we’ve had something like that before,” Higashioka said of the fourth-inning drama.