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Cano homers twice as Yankees end skid

The SportsXchange

MINNEAPOLIS -- The New York Yankees' recent struggles didn't extend to Robinson Cano.

The sizzling second baseman helped the Yankees snap a five-game losing streak Monday, going 3-for-4 with two homers in New York's 10-4 win over the Minnesota Twins in the opener of a four-game series.

Cano began the scoring with a solo homer in the first inning, and he added a two-run shot in the third. As the Yankees lost three times over the weekend at Baltimore, Cano went 7-for-13 with a homer.

The Twins led 4-3 Monday before the Yankees exploded for three runs in the eighth inning and four more in the ninth.

"(Cano) really got us going with the two home runs, and then we were able to score seven runs in the last two innings," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It was great."

Cano led off the eighth with a double, and pinch hitter Ichiro Suzuki bunted for a single. Twins reliever Jarod Burton (1-6) threw a pick-off attempt wide of first baseman Justin Morneau, and Cano scored the tying run, with Suzuki making it to third. Suzuki then scored on Zoilo Almonte's single to left to put New York up 5-4.

"Robby leads off with the double, and Ichiro puts a little bit of pressure on them with the bunt and the speed, and it kind of changed the inning for us," Girardi said. "We were able to take the lead, which was really nice. But we capitalized on some mistakes on their part."

The Yankees weren't done. The Twins' next reliever, Brian Duensing, threw a wild pitch to move Almonte up to third, and Almonte scored on Chris Stewart's infield hit for 6-4 lead.

"It was an ugly end to a good ballgame at that point," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We got (the ball) to the right people, but it just didn't work out."

The Yankees, who pounded out 14 hits in the game, began the ninth with two hits, and an intentional walk to Cano loaded the bases. Travis Hafner singled to score Brett Gardner, and Almonte singled off Duensing's foot, scoring Nix. Chris Stewart walked to score Cano, and a passed ball brought in Hafner.

Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain (1-0) threw a scoreless seventh inning, and David Robertson struck out three Twins in the eighth. Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth in a non-save situation.

The two starters kept the game close. Minnesota's Scott Diamond gave up the two round-trippers to Cano but otherwise had one of his better outings. He threw 94 pitches in 6 2/3 innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on seven hits. He walked one and struck out five.

"I'm happy with the improvement, personally," Diamond said, "but we lost and it's frustrating the way it all unraveled a little bit. Hopefully we can make an adjustment and come back tomorrow and be a little more competitive in the series."

Gardenhire was pleased with his starting pitcher, but not with how his team handled Cano.

"Take Cano out of the lineup against Scotty and he had a really good night," Gardenhire said. "The one guy we talked about not letting him beat us -- he didn't personally beat us, but he got a lot of hits."

Yankees starter Andy Pettitte gave up three first-inning runs, then settled down. He lasted five-plus innings, throwing 102 pitches. Pettitte gave up four runs on six hits and four walks while striking out two.

"He probably should have given up two runs in the first," Girardi said of Pettitte. "Just kind of missed some of his spots early. I don't think he got the ball into (Brian) Dozier like he wanted to in that situation. Then he kind of settled down in the middle innings, and (Chris) Parmelee put a good at-bat on him in the sixth there."

Parmelee broke a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the sixth with a solo homer that just crept barely across the fence in right, ending Pettitte's night.

Still, the Yankees rallied to give Girardi the 600th victory of his managerial career.

"I didn't know until after the game," Girardi said, "so, it's nice. I've been fortunate. I've had some really good players along the way."

NOTES: Pettitte fanned Morneau in the fifth inning to become the all-time strikeout leader in Yankees history with 1,958, passing Whitey Ford. ... Since May 30, the Twins have hit 22 home runs in 17 home games, the third-most home-field homers in baseball during that span. ... Coming into the game, Minnesota LF Oswaldo Arcia led all AL rookies in RBIs (24) and extra-base hits (17) and was tied for first in total bases (76), home runs (six) and doubles (10). He went 1-for-4 with an RBI single Monday.
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