Yankees finish off the Twins

May 18, 2009 7:58:38 PM PDT
The Yankees got started early, instead of waiting for their final swing. Mark Teixeira homered from both sides of the plate, combining with Alex Rodriguez for back-to-back drives in a six-run first inning against Glen Perkins, and New York beat the Minnesota Twins 7-6 on a chilly Monday night to complete a four-game sweep.

After stringing together three straight walk-off wins for the first time since 1972, the Yankees overcame a 2-0 first-inning deficit and hung on to extend their winning streak to a season-high six. New York improved to 23-3 at home against the Twins during the regular season since the start of 2002.

Andy Pettitte (4-1) won consecutive starts for the first time this year, allowing four runs and 12 hits in 6 2-3 innings. Jose Veras relieved in the seventh and loaded the bases with a walk, then retired Carlos Gomez on a flyout to protect a 6-4 lead.

Justin Morneau had four hits and Michael Cuddyer and Denard Span homered for the Twins. There have been five or more homers in seven of the 17 games at the new Yankee Stadium and 63 homers in all, two shy of the record for most in the first 17 games at a major league ballpark, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Forty of the homers have been hit to right field.

Perkins (1-3) lasted just nine batters and got two outs, allowing six runs and seven hits. Minnesota dropped to 4-12 on the road but is 14-9 at home.

Minnesota third baseman Joe Crede returned to the lineup after missing two games with a back spasm and achy hamstrings and went 0 for 4 with a walk.

After Minnesota closed to 6-4, Teixeira homered left-handed off Luis Ayala into the second deck in right leading off the seventh, giving him eight hits and nine RBIs in the series.

Span homered off Edwar Ramirez in the eighth. Phil Coke struck out Morneau with a runner on to end the inning and, with Mariano Rivera given the night off, finished for his first career save.

Coke allowed an RBI grounder in the ninth to Cuddyer, then retired pinch-hitter Mike Redmond on a game-ending grounder with a runner on first.

Following singles by Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon, and a balk by Perkins, Teixeira began the comeback with a three-run homer.

Rodriguez, given a start at designated hitter, homered for the third straight game, connecting for his fourth of the season since rejoining the Yankees on May 8 following hip surgery.

Robinson Cano doubled, and RBI singles by Melky Cabrera and Francisco Cervelli made it a 6-2 lead and chased Perkins, who is 0-2 in five starts since beating the Los Angeles Angels on April 19.

After going 1 for 25 with runners in scoring position during the first three games of the series, Minnesota was 2 for 2 in the first inning, when Joe Mauer and Morneau hit RBI singles.

Notes: There were 65 homers in the first 17 games at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico. ... At least one homer has been hit in every game this season at Yankee Stadium, Detroit's Comerica Park and Tampa Bay's Tropicana Field. ... Teixeira has 23 multihomer games, connecting from both sides seven times. ... Pittsburgh claimed RHP Steven Jackson off waivers from the Yankees.