MINNEAPOLIS - Alex Rodriguez sounded as impressed with John Ryan Murphy as he was with himself. Maybe even more so.
A-Rod's third homer of the game, a leadoff blast in the ninth against Glen Perkins, tied the score Saturday night, but it was Murphy's three-run shot later in the inning off the Twins' standout closer that gave the Yankees an 8-5 victory.
"To hit a ball that far, the opposite field, with two strikes, in that situation . . . ," Rodriguez said, not completing the thought. "Murph's a good one. We're proud of him."
Murphy, hitting .271 with no homers and five RBIs in 35 games entering the night, was 0-for-3 when he stepped to the plate with runners at the corners and one out in the ninth. He said his goal was to hit a fly ball deep enough to get Carlos Beltran in from third. Instead, he caught a 2-and-2 slider and sent it over the wall in right-center for his first homer since April 26, 2014, a span of 153 at-bats.
"Off the bat, I didn't think it had a chance," Murphy said. "It just kept going."
As he rounded first and glanced back into the dugout, the backup catcher saw his teammates screaming and high-fiving, the kind of reaction you'd expect to see in a walk-off victory in October.
"Pretty amazing feeling," said Murphy, 24. "It's got to be one of my best feelings since I've been in the major leagues. There's no greater feeling than knowing you've just won the game for your team. It was a lot of fun once I got back in that dugout."