MINNEAPOLIS -- With the game on the line and hard-throwing Mariano Rivera pitching, Justin Morneau knew he needed to make an adjustment.
So he ditched his bat for teammate Joe Mauer's shorter, lighter stick, and promptly delivered the Minnesota Twins' latest comeback victory.
"I told him I wanted to use his because his has the hits in them," Morneau said.
It sure does.
Morneau hit a two-out, two-run single in the ninth inning to lift the Twins over the New York Yankees 6-5 Saturday night for their fifth straight come-from-behind win.
The Twins trailed 5-4 heading into the ninth with Rivera (0-1), one of the league's best closers for the past decade, on the hill.
But Luis Castillo beat out an infield hit -- his fourth hit of the game -- to start the inning and advanced to third on a single by Mauer, who reached second when Hideki Matsui threw to third.
Rivera came back to strike out Rondell White and Torii Hunter.
Morneau then dropped his 35-inch, 33-ounce bat and picked up Mauer's 34-inch, 31-ounce model, hoping it would help him get around on Rivera's famed cut fastball. He stroked a lazy single to right, and Mauer raced around third to beat Gary Sheffield's throw, whipping the more than 42,000 in attendance into a frenzy.
Rivera and manager Joe Torre both said they thought a check swing by Castillo with two strikes was a full swing and he should have been called out.
"It was kind of inside, but he swung," said Rivera, who came in with one out in the eighth. "He definitely swung. I don't know why the umpire didn't see that.
"I thought it was a strikeout, but you can't change that. That play is over and you have to get the next guy."
The Twins' latest -- and most thrilling -- comeback of this young season put them above .500 (6-5) for the first time following a 1-5 start on the road. They erased two four-run deficits and a three-run hole in a three-game sweep of Oakland, and have come back from one run down in the first two games of the series with the Yankees.
"We said we couldn't wait to get home, that all those losses we could blame on the road," Morneau said. "We're glad we're here. It's a big confidence builder for us."
Francisco Liriano pitched 1 2/3 shutout innings and Juan Rincon (1-0) pitched a perfect ninth for the win.
But this victory came a little differently. The Twins fell behind early in each of their last four victories, but jumped ahead 3-0 in this one off an RBI double by Morneau and singles by Juan Castro and Luis Castillo.
With starter Johan Santana looking strong in the first six innings, scattering six hits and two runs while constantly keeping the Yankees' powerful lineup off balance, the Twins looked like they'd cruise to victory.
The Yankees finally chased him from the game in the seventh. Robinson Cano ripped a single up the middle that almost knocked Santana down to start the inning, and one batter later Johnny Damon doubled.
Derek Jeter followed with his third hit of the game, a two-run single off reliever Jesse Crain that tied it at 4, and Alex Rodriguez broke the tie with an RBI single one batter later.
With Rivera on the mound and 20 saves in his last 21 opportunities against the Twins, game over, right?
"One thing is for sure," Santana said. "We battle until the last out and that's good to see."
Wright's first start of the season was a rough one. He went just three-plus innings with eight hits, four runs - three earned - a hit batter and a wild pitch. But Scott Proctor pitched 3 1-3 innings of scoreless relief for the Yankees.
"This doesn't happen too often," Jeter said. "We were right in the position we want to be in in the ninth inning, with Mo. Even when they got the first couple of guys on, we still like our chances. ... He made a good pitch, the guy just found a hole."
Twins CF Torii Hunter and Castillo received their 2005 Gold Glove awards. Castillo won his last year while playing second base with the Marlins. ... The Yankees signed IF Carlos Pena and RHP Jesus Colome to minor league contracts on Saturday. ... White snapped an 0-for-15 slump with a single, just his fourth hit of the season, in the third.