|N.Y. Yankees (51-34) «||0||3||0||2||1||0||0||0||0||6||8||2|
MINNEAPOLIS -- Mark Teixeira's career-long home run drought is finally over.
After sending a Francisco Liriano fastball some 420 feet into the Metrodome seats on Thursday, Teixeira thinks his next long ball might not be far behind.
"I'm a streaky home run hitter, and they come in bunches," Teixeira said. "And after hitting a bunch in a row it took a while to get another one."
Teixeira, who managed to keep his average and on-base percentage high through his power outage, connected on the first pitch of the fifth inning. It was his 21st home run of the season and first in 96 at-bats, dating to June 12 against the Mets.
Was it starting to wear on him?
"Not at all," he said. "We're playing so much great baseball. I'm getting on base. I'm still hitting the ball; I'm just not getting that lift.
"The last couple of weeks, that ball that I hit would've been a line drive to the left fielder or maybe a nice hard single," he added. "But once you get a little bit of a lift, a little bit of backspin, that's when home runs start coming."
Mariano Rivera picked up his 23rd save for the Yankees, who have won eight in a row on the road and beat the Twins all seven times they met this season.
The victory, coupled with Boston's 8-6 loss to Kansas City, moved the Yankees into a tie for first place in the AL East with the Red Sox at 51-34. The Yankees are in first place for the first time since entering the games of June 10.
Francisco Liriano (4-9) surrendered six runs -- three earned -- on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings for the Twins, who have lost 18 of their past 24 games against the Yankees.
Twins All-Star first baseman Justin Morneau was 0 for 4 and went 0 for 10 in the series.
"They just pretty much dominated us at home," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That's not supposed to happen."
New York moved Alfredo Aceves from the bullpen for a spot start in place of the injured Chien-Ming Wang. Aceves yielded four runs -- two charged to him when reliever David Robertson walked Denard Span and Matt Tolbert with the bases loaded in the fourth -- on four hits in 3 1/3 innings.
Robertson's walks were the only hiccups for the sterling New York bullpen. The relievers combined to allow two hits and no runs over the final 5 2/3 innings. Jonathan Albaladejo (4-1) pitched 1 2/3 hitless innings for the victory.
"I thought it was going to come together right out of spring training, so it's a little later than I thought actually because we've had to shuffle some pieces with guys to fit in," manager Joe Girardi said. "They've done everything I've asked them to do. They haven't said, 'What's my role?' "
It was another shaky outing for Liriano, who has been nowhere near the dominating performer he was before Tommy John surgery 2½ years ago. Gardenhire said Liriano "is still learning to pitch with less stuff than he had before the surgery."
"It's kind of frustrating," Liriano said. "I should have made some better pitches, especially the 0-2 count. Too many pitches all over the place."
Derek Jeter added an RBI single later in the inning to make it 3-0, with all three runs unearned thanks to an error by second baseman Tolbert.
Liriano needed 55 pitches to get through the first two innings, two days after the Yankees squeezed 57 out of Scott Baker in the first two frames.
The Yankees gave two runs back in the second on errant throws. Aceves threw a ball away on a pickoff attempt at first base and Ransom had a throwing error at third base as the Twins cut the deficit to 3-2.
Ransom and Brett Gardner had RBI singles in the fourth, and Robertson steeled himself after the two run-scoring walks. He induced Joe Mauer to ground out with the bases loaded to end the inning and keep the Yankees in the lead, 5-4.
"They just wore us down," Gardenhire said.
|Mark Teixeira snaps a 23-game homerless stretch with a long blast off Francisco Liriano. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|New York Yankees|
|Derek Jeter, SS||4||0||1||1||1||0||1||.314|
|Nick Swisher, RF||5||0||0||0||0||1||1||.239|
|Mark Teixeira, 1B||4||1||1||1||0||2||0||.281|
|Alex Rodriguez, DH||3||1||1||0||1||1||0||.247|
|Jorge Posada, C||3||2||1||0||0||2||1||.289|
|Robinson Cano, 2B||4||2||1||0||0||0||1||.304|
|Melky Cabrera, LF||4||0||1||0||0||0||6||.277|
|Cody Ransom, 3B||3||0||1||2||1||1||1||.185|
|Brett Gardner, CF||4||0||1||2||0||2||1||.286|
|2B - Robinson Cano (23, Liriano), Melky Cabrera (13, Liriano)|
|HR - Mark Teixeira (21, Liriano)|
|RBI - Derek Jeter (36), Mark Teixeira (63), Cody Ransom 2 (10), Brett Gardner 2 (19)|
|2-OUT RBI - Derek Jeter (17)|
|SB - Alex Rodriguez (3, 2nd base off Liriano/Redmond)|
|CS - Brett Gardner (4, Home by Liriano/Redmond)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|E - Alfredo Aceves (1, Throwing), Cody Ransom (4, Throwing)|
|New York Yankees|
|Jonathan Albaladejo (W,4-1)||1.2||0||0||0||1||2||0||5.04|
|Phil Coke (H,9)||0.2||1||0||0||0||1||0||3.13|
|Phil Hughes (H,5)||1.1||0||0||0||0||2||0||4.01|
|Mariano Rivera (S,23)||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||2.43|
|HBP - Redmond (by Alfredo Aceves)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Alfredo Aceves 65-41, David Robertson 28-11, Jonathan Albaladejo 23-15, Phil Coke 5-5, Phil Hughes 19-12, Mariano Rivera 11-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Alfredo Aceves 6-3, David Robertson 1-0, Jonathan Albaladejo 2-1, Phil Coke 1-0, Mariano Rivera 3-0|
|Batters Faced - Alfredo Aceves 17, David Robertson 6, Jonathan Albaladejo 6, Phil Coke 3, Phil Hughes 3, Mariano Rivera 4|
|Denard Span, CF||4||0||0||1||1||1||1||.288|
|Matt Tolbert, 2B||3||0||0||1||1||0||0||.178|
|a- Brendan Harris, PH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.268|
|Joe Mauer, DH||5||0||2||0||0||1||4||.389|
|Justin Morneau, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.313|
|Jason Kubel, LF||3||1||1||1||1||1||1||.306|
|Michael Cuddyer, RF||3||2||1||0||1||1||1||.274|
|Brian Buscher, 3B||3||1||1||0||1||1||1||.210|
|Mike Redmond, C||2||0||0||0||0||1||2||.224|
|b- Jose Morales, PH-C||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.333|
|Nick Punto, SS||4||0||0||0||0||1||4||.211|
|a-singled for Tolbert in the 9th|
|b-struck out for Redmond in the 8th|
|2B - Michael Cuddyer (19, Aceves)|
|HR - Jason Kubel (14, Aceves)|
|RBI - Denard Span (28), Matt Tolbert (12), Jason Kubel (43)|
|2-OUT RBI - Denard Span (9), Matt Tolbert (5)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|DP - Punto-Tolbert-Morneau|
|E - Matt Tolbert (2, Misplayed grounder)|
|Francisco Liriano (L,4-9)||5.1||7||6||3||2||5||1||5.47|
|HBP - Posada (by Francisco Liriano)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Francisco Liriano 105-62, R.A. Dickey 33-23, Jose Mijares 23-17, Matt Guerrier 3-1|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Francisco Liriano 6-4, R.A. Dickey 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Francisco Liriano 25, R.A. Dickey 7, Jose Mijares 5, Matt Guerrier 1|
|Attendance - 40142|
|Game Time - 3:18|
|Temperature - 69|
|Umpires - Home - Tim Timmons, First Base - Mark Wegner, Second Base - Jeff Kellogg, Third Base - Scott Barry|