Yankees 8, Twins 1
NEW YORK (AP)—Just like that, Alex Rodriguez is getting curtain calls at Yankee Stadium instead of boos.
A day after breaking out of a slump, Rodriguez homered twice and drove in three runs Friday night, earning a second call for the second straight game in New York’s 8-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins.
“He went through a tough time but it looks like he’s out of it, at least for the time being,” teammate Johnny Damon said. “But there’ll be microscopes out, regardless of what he does.”
Rodriguez homered in the second inning off Carlos Silva (8-13) to put the Yankees ahead, had a bases-loaded single in the four-run fifth, then hit his 29th homer of the season in the seventh against Matt Guerrier. It was just the third multihomer game of the year for A-Rod, the first since July 2.
Yankees manager Joe Torre told him to walk up the dugout steps to acknowledge the applause following the second homer.
“Unless Joe tells me to go, it’s just not my nature,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t feel real comfortable doing that.”
He was in a 1-for-24 slump before getting three hits Thursday against Detroit, including a home run.
“Before it seemed like he was just seeing the ball really late, wasn’t really sure what was going on,” Damon said. “Today it seemed like he saw the pitches out of the pitcher’s hand.”
In a matchup with implications on the pennant and batting races, Derek Jeter went 3-for-5 to raise his average to .342.
Minnesota’s Joe Mauer ended an 0-for-16 slide with a single to center in the fourth that bounced out of the web of Damon’s glove when he tried for a sliding catch. Mauer went 1-for-2 with a walk and is batting a league-leading .350. That’s down from .361 before the hitless streak, one at-bat shy of his career high.
“I felt a lot better tonight,” Mauer said. “There are a lot games left, and we’re trying to get into the playoffs. I don’t look at it as a matchup.”
Cory Lidle (3-2) allowed two hits and two walks in six scoreless innings. After hitless relief by Mike Myers, Brian Bruney and Octavio Dotel, T.J. Beam gave up an RBI double to Justin Morneau in a two-hit ninth.
New York remained a season-high eight games ahead of Boston in the AL East. Minnesota, which lost for the fourth time in five games, stayed a half-game behind Chicago in the AL wild-card race.
Silva gave up six runs—four earned—and nine hits in four-plus innings, hurt by Morneau’s throwing error. He dropped to 0-4 in his last five starts.
With injuries to Francisco Lirano and Brad Radke, who was diagnosed Friday with a stress fracture to his pitching shoulder, Silva was the most experienced starter the Twins had against the Yankees. Rookies Scott Baker (3-7) and Matt Garza (1-2) are scheduled to start the final two games of the series—which are threatened by rain—and Boof Bonser (3-5) also is in the rotation along with ace Johan Santana (16-5).
“At least now we know what we’re dealing with,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We’re going to go with a young staff. There is no one left in the minors, so they’ve got to get it done.”
Jeter singled leading off the third and scored on Bobby Abreu’s single. Then, after Damon singled opening the fifth, Jeter had a hit-and-run single through the hole created when second baseman Nick Punto—usually a third baseman—went to cover the base.
Abreu hit an RBI single, and when Jason Giambi grounded sharply to first, Morneau’s throw to second was off line and popped out of shortstop Jason Bartlett’s glove. Rodriguez hit an RBI single—he’s 8-for-17 (.471) this year with the bases loaded—that chased Silva. Robinson Cano singled in a run off Guerrier and Aaron Guiel hit an RBI grounder.
“We didn’t catch the ball very well. We didn’t pitch the ball very well, and obviously our offense didn’t produce,” Gardenhire said. “We just stunk. We are a better team than that.”
On a night of intermittent rain and blustery wind, attendance was far below the announced sellout crowd of 54,311. Jorge Posada got a double in the seventh when CF Torii Hunter backed up to near the warning track only to have the ball drop about 15 feet in front of him. … Rodriguez has 43 multihomer games in his career. … Minnesota’s Alexi Casilla made his major league debut when he pinch hit in the eighth. He ran to first when Dotel threw a ball, but the umpires said that only made the count full. He returned and fouled off a pitch, then walked. “It takes five balls to walk in this ballpark,” Gardenhire said. “I came in here and checked. He knew he walked.” … The Yankees clinched their 15th straight winning season at home.