Rodriguez drives in 3 as Yanks beat Twins
They may have to do it without Jorge Posada.
Rodriguez hit a two-run homer in the first inning and an RBI single in the second to help New York beat the Minnesota Twins 12-4 on Monday night for its eighth straight win at Yankee Stadium.
“We’ve been looking to score runs early and really try to deliver the knockout punch, something we haven’t really been very successful with this year,” Rodriguez said. “But hopefully this was a sign of things to come.”
Robinson Cano hit an upper-deck drive and Derek Jeter also went deep for the Yankees, who led 8-2 after three innings and have won four straight overall. New York’s Yankee Stadium streak is its longest since it won nine straight at home in 2005.
“This is the team that we are,” Cano said. “Everybody contributes, and our pitching is great.”
Alexi Casilla had three hits for the Twins, but his throwing error led to three unearned runs in New York’s four-run second inning.
New York played without Posada, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with an injured throwing shoulder and could be headed for season-ending surgery. The catcher was scheduled to see New York Mets medical director Dr. David Altchek on Tuesday to get an MRI and have his shoulder examined.
Posada said he would make a decision on surgery after talking over his options with Altchek.
“It’s just really, really tough,” he said. “Right now, I’m going through tough times.”
Minnesota dropped to 3-17 at Yankee Stadium since the start of the 2002 season, losing the opener of its final regular-season series at New York. The Twins have lost six straight series in the Bronx.
“I think pretty much an ugly night for us,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We didn’t pitch very well. We didn’t catch the ball very well early in the game. You make mistakes with these guys here, you pay for them, and we paid for a lot of our mistakes out there.”
Nick Blackburn (7-6) lasted just 1 2-3 innings in his second career start against the Yankees. He allowed seven hits and six runs, three earned, in his first start since July 13.
“I just didn’t make pitches when I needed to,” he said. “I felt fine warming up. I didn’t feel rusty. Just a bad night overall.”
Blackburn also had an early exit in his first game against New York, departing after he was drilled in the face by Bobby Abreu’s line drive in the fifth inning. The rookie right-hander, who allowed just one run in that June 1 start, was left with a swollen lip and headaches but still managed to make his next scheduled start against the Chicago White Sox.
Johnny Damon was activated from the disabled list and went 1-for-4 serving as the designated hitter for New York (54-45), which improved to a season-best nine games over .500. Jose Molina, who got the start at catcher, snapped an 0-for-14 skid with a second-inning single and had a season-high three hits.
The Yankees chased Blackburn in the second. With the bases loaded and one out, Damon hit a grounder to second baseman Casilla, who bounced his throw to the plate. Melky Cabrera scored to give New York a 3-2 lead.
Jeter followed with an RBI single to left, Abreu drove in a run with a fielder’s choice and Rodriguez singled in Damon on Blackburn’s final pitch of the night.
That was enough for Sidney Ponson (6-1), who allowed three runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings in his first start since July 9. The right-hander improved to 2-0 in four starts since he signed a minor league deal with the Yankees on June 18.
“He got important groundballs when he had to,” New York manager Joe Girardi said. “Even a lot of the hits were groundballs, so I thought he threw the ball pretty well.”
Rodriguez’s homer was his 21st of the season and Cano’s drive to right leading off the third was his eighth of the year. Jeter led off the sixth with his sixth homer to make it 9-3.
Cano went 2-for-5 to record his fourth straight multihit game. The notoriously strong second-half hitter is batting .349 (22-for-63) in July.
Casilla has hit safely in 21 of his last 23 games, batting .356 (36-for-101) over that span. … Yankees RHP Brian Bruney (right foot) is expected to pitch in consecutive games this week in his rehab stint with Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre. … Oft-injured RHP Carl Pavano, coming back from elbow ligament replacement surgery, could be back this year. In the final season of a $39.95 million, four-year contract, Pavano has made just 19 starts with New York. “There’s certainly a chance for him to pitch in the majors this year if everything goes right,” general manager Brian Cashman said. … Cashman said Posada’s injured shoulder won’t change how the club approaches the trade market. The non-waiver trade deadline is July 31.