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Yankees roll behind Hughes, complete sweep of Twins

CBSSports.com wire reports
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NEW YORK -- Mariano Rivera got the last out, sealing yet another October triumph. Jorge Posada trotted out to mound, and the Yankees came out of the dugout in a businesslike manner to shake each other hands.

No crazy celebration, at least not yet.

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Postseason step No. 1 accomplished. Two more to go before the New York Yankees' big party can start.

And yet another quick October exit for the Minnesota Twins.

Phil Hughes pitched seven shutout innings, Marcus Thames and Nick Swisher hit home runs and the Yankees beat the Twins 6-1 on Saturday night to complete yet another three-game sweep of Minnesota and return to the AL Championship Series.

"We have a long way to go," Derek Jeter said. "We gained a lot of confidence, the way we did last year in the playoffs."

Even newcomers sense only part of the mission is complete.

"That's three down," said Thames, whose fourth-inning home run blew open the game, "but we've got eight more games to go."

For starters, though, the Yankees sped past the Twins with ease. It's not just a pair of playoff victories for New York against Minnesota, but four in the past decade -- all in the first round.

"This is not much fun at all, to come up here, being knocked out, knowing your season is over with again after three games in the playoffs," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We've had that a few times."

New York will begin the ALCS on Friday at Texas or Tampa Bay. With the short first-round series, the defending World Series champions put ace CC Sabathia in position to start the opener.

A banged-up veteran team appears to have benefited from days off in October. The wild-card Yankees rebounded from a late-season fade in which they lost 17 of their final 26.

"Once you get to the postseason, it's like another season," said Curtis Granderson, who hit .455 in his first playoff series for New York. "You've just got to get across the finish line."

Robinson Cano got New York started when he tripled off Brian Duensing in the second inning and scored on Posada's single. Mark Teixeira added an RBI single in the third, and Thames made it 4-0 with his first career postseason home run, a two-run drive over the right-field scoreboard.

"I didn't get the job done when it counted," said Duensing, who allowed five runs and seven hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Brett Gardner hit a sacrifice fly off Matthew Guerrier later in the fourth, and Swisher added a solo home run in the seventh against Scott Baker.

The AL Central champion Twins lost their 12th consecutive postseason game dating to 2004, one shy of the record set by the Boston Red Sox from 1986-95. Minnesota's past nine losses have been against the Yankees.

"We keep saying, 'Well, next year we'll get these guys,' " Jason Kubel said. "That's happened a couple of times, and it hasn't worked out."

In addition to this year, the Yankees knocked out the Twins in the first round in 2003, 2004 and last season. New York outscored Minnesota 17-7 in this series and scorched the Twins 69-36 in the four playoff triumphs.

"We expect everyone to produce. We don't just rely on one or two guys," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We rely on a circular lineup."

With Minnesota badly missing Justin Morneau, sidelined since midseason because of a concussion, the heart of the Twins' order Saturday -- AL MVP Joe Mauer and Kubel -- combined to go 3 for 20 (.150) with no RBI in the series.

"Right now we're in a little rut here. We can't seem to put it together," Gardenhire said. "No excuses. We just didn't get it done. We haven't got it done. And we have to do some more searching here in trying to figure out how to get it done, because we definitely, definitely can do it. We know we can. We know we're a good baseball team. You just have to put it together at the right time."

After leading the major leagues during the regular season with a .285 average with runners in scoring position, the Twins couldn't get a single clutch hit in the playoffs. With runners in scoring position, they went an almost impossibly bad 0 for 14 before Denard Span's too-little, too-late single in the eighth off Kerry Wood.

Orlando Hudson followed with an RBI single, and a Mauer walk loaded the bases. Boone Logan threw one pitch, retiring Kubel on an infield pop, and David Robertson got Delmon Young on an inning-ending flyout. Minnesota finished the series 2 for 18 (.222) RISP with one RBI.

In the first postseason game at new Yankee Stadium following the death of George Steinbrenner in July, the late owner's four children all looked on, hoping to see a repeat of the run that brought the pinstripes their record 27th World Series title last year, which christened the $1.5 billion ballpark.

Hughes gave up four hits, struck out six and walked one, leaving to chants of "Hughes!" from the new Yankee Stadium record crowd of 50,840 following his first scoreless start since May 12. He was perfect his first time through the order, then allowed Span's single to right leading off the fourth. Hughes didn't allow a runner past second.

Four relievers followed, with Rivera closing it out 1-2-3 in a non-save situation. Fans didn't stick around long, knowing they'll be back.

Come October, the killer instinct in the Yankees comes out.

"You have to have the mindset to put them away," Jeter said. "Everyone in here came in ready to win today. We're fortunate to do it, but we have to have that mindset every game."

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Players of the Game
New York

N. Swisher
AB 3
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
New York

P. Hughes
IP 7.0
H 4
ER 0
BB 1
K 6
 

Related Video

Minnesota Twins
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Denard Span, CF4020000 .308
Orlando Hudson, 2B4021011 .333
Joe Mauer, C3010100 .250
Jason Kubel, RF4000015 .000
Delmon Young, LF4010013 .333
Jim Thome, DH3000120 .100
Michael Cuddyer, 1B4000022 .182
Danny Valencia, 3B4110002 .222
J.J. Hardy, SS3000001 .100
Totals3317127  
Batting
2B - Danny Valencia (1, Wood)
RBI - Orlando Hudson (2)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Hudson-Hardy-Cuddyer, Hardy-Hudson-Cuddyer
E - Joe Mauer (1, Throwing)
Minnesota Twins
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Brian Duensing (L,0-1) 3.1755111 13.50
Matt Guerrier 0.2100110 0.00
Scott Baker 2.1311021 3.86
Jose Mijares 0.2000000 0.00
Brian Fuentes 1100010 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Brian Duensing 58-39, Matt Guerrier 26-15, Scott Baker 34-26, Jose Mijares 3-2, Brian Fuentes 16-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brian Duensing 3-5, Scott Baker 3-2, Jose Mijares 1-0, Brian Fuentes 2-0
Batters Faced - Brian Duensing 17, Matt Guerrier 4, Scott Baker 10, Jose Mijares 1, Brian Fuentes 4
New York Yankees
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Derek Jeter, SS4020010 .286
Nick Swisher, RF3221101 .333
Mark Teixeira, 1B4011013 .308
Alex Rodriguez, 3B4010002 .273
Robinson Cano, 2B4220001 .333
Marcus Thames, DH4122001 .286
Jorge Posada, C4011021 .273
Curtis Granderson, CF3110101 .455
Brett Gardner, LF3001011 .200
Totals33612625  
Batting
2B - Nick Swisher (2, Duensing)
3B - Robinson Cano (1, Duensing)
HR - Nick Swisher (1, Baker), Marcus Thames (1, Duensing)
SF - Brett Gardner (1)
RBI - Nick Swisher (1), Mark Teixeira (3), Marcus Thames 2 (2), Jorge Posada (2), Brett Gardner (1)
2-OUT RBI - Mark Teixeira (1)
SB - Derek Jeter (1, 2nd base off Guerrier/Mauer), Curtis Granderson (1, 3rd base off Guerrier/Mauer)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Jeter-Cano-Teixeira
New York Yankees
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Phil Hughes (W,1-0) 7400160 0.00
Kerry Wood 0.1311100 4.50
Boone Logan (H,2) 0.1000000 0.00
David Robertson (H,2) 0.1000000 0.00
Mariano Rivera 1000010 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Phil Hughes 99-67, Kerry Wood 22-13, Boone Logan 1-1, David Robertson 3-2, Mariano Rivera 12-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Phil Hughes 6-8
Batters Faced - Phil Hughes 25, Kerry Wood 5, Boone Logan 1, David Robertson 1, Mariano Rivera 3
Game Information
Attendance - 50840
Game Time - 3:06
Temperature - 63
Umpires - Home - Greg Gibson, First Base - Brian O'Nora, Second Base - Gary Darling, Third Base - Chris Guccione