By Larry Fleisher
(RECASTING: ADDING INFORMATION: QUOTES: ADDING TWINS TRANSACTIONS AND JETER ITEM IN NOTES)
NEW YORK - Many times over the past decade, Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has stood at his desk in his Yankee Stadium office and lamented everything that went against his team in a loss to the New York Yankees.
Gardenhire did that Friday night but spent the past two days enjoying victories at Yankee Stadium, especially Sunday's 10-4 victory, when everything came together for the Twins, who also capitalized on shoddy defense by the Yankees.
"It's nice to win, just win ballgames, and to win a series here is not ever easy and we haven't done it in a long time but guys were excited," Gardenhire said. "The ball fell our way today. We got some bloops, we hit some balls hard and things went our way, and that hasn't happened here in a long time where we get all the breaks, and today we got a lot of breaks."
That included Eduardo Nunez committing a two-out throwing error on a ground ball by Trevor Plouffe. That came two batters after Justin Morneau had a double to short right field on which second baseman Robinson Cano attempted to make a running over-the-shoulder catch only to see the ball pop out of his glove.
The Twins were leading 2-0 at that point but on the next pitch, Aaron Hicks drove a changeup into the left field seats for his eighth home run to make it 5-0.
"We needed that; it put a charge into everybody," Gardenhire said.
Minnesota added three more runs in the fourth on an RBI double by Brian Dozier and a two-run error by first baseman Lyle Overbay that allowed Dozier and Joe Mauer to score. That came after Morneau blooped a single over CC Sabathia's head that landed behind the mound.
"We've been on the flip side of that; you make a mistake and they kill you for it," Gardenhire said. "They make you pay. We've been on the flip side too much."
Winning a series in New York for the first time since May 2001 ended a 3-7 road trip for the Twins, but also marked the first time the Twins won consecutive games since a three-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox June 18-20. Since that point, Minnesota has lost 17 of 23 games.
"We still have to live with the way we played the first half and our record's not very good," Gardenhire said. "Coming in here winning two out of three, if you're going to go into the break winning two out of three and go into a break feeling a little bit better about ourselves, that's kind of what we get out of this. Hopefully it's something to build on."
"If we can come here and take two of three, it's a nice little shot in the arm," Minnesota right fielder Ryan Doumit said.
Twins rookie Kyle Gibson (2-2) performed decently in his fourth career start, allowing three runs (two earned) and five hits in five-plus innings. He worked around four walks, struck out one and let his defense impact the game.
In the first inning, Gibson retired Cano on a fly ball to medium range right field. Doumit easily completed the double play as New York rookie Zoilo Almonte was past second when the ball was caught.
"I'm very thankful that they were out there, playing the ball well," Gibson said. "They got a lot of good reads and I know the wind here can be kind of tricky. To make both of those good plays, both of those worked me out of innings."
Two innings later, Vernon Wells lifted a fly ball a little further out in left field. Almonte tagged up at third and Clete Thomas made a strong throw to Mauer, who easily applied the tag to get Almonte.
Gibson said he couldn't remember getting two outfield double plays at any level, but those plays helped on a day when he got in some jams. He held the Yankees to 1-for-10 with men on base.
Sabathia had his second-shortest start not impacted by a rain delay as a Yankee, allowing eight runs (three earned) and eight hits in four innings. He threw 93 pitches to 23 batters and was handed his first loss to Minnesota in nearly six years.
"We've been playing good D all year, it's just part of the game," Sabathia said. "Guys are gonna make errors. It's up to the pitcher to make pitches."
Ichiro Suzuki homered and Cano had an RBI single for the Yankees, who lost for the fifth time in 14 games. New York's other runs came on RBI groundouts in the fourth.
"It was just one of those games where kind of everything we could do wrong went wrong defensively," Wells said. "It was an ugly game."
NOTES: 3B Alex Rodriguez started at DH in his final rehab game for Class A Tampa and went 1-for-3 with an RBI double. Rodriguez is 3-for-21 in his rehab and the Yankees said that he will continue his rehab with Class AA Trenton on Monday. "The reports have been OK," manager Joe Girardi said. "Physically, he's doing OK. You just keep rehabbing and trying to lengthen him out, play him a couple of days in a row and see what we have after the 20 days. ... New York SS Derek Jeter missed his third straight game with a strained right quadriceps, and the team said he will re-evaluated Thursday. ... Both teams announced their rotations for the first series after the All-Star break. Minnesota will begin the second half against Cleveland with RHPs Mike Pelfrey, Kevin Correia and LHP Scott Diamond. New York will start the second half in Boston with LHP Andy Pettitte, RHP Hiroki Kuroda and Sabathia. ... After the game, the Twins announced that they will option OFs Oswaldo Arcia, Chris Parmelee and IF Eduardo Escobar to Class AAA Rochester. IF Doug Bernier and C/OF Chris Herrmann will join the team, which has not decided what the third move will be... Arcia had four strikeouts Friday, has 15 strikeouts in his last 17 at-bats and three hits in his last 32 at-bats. Parmelee went 4-for-29 on the road trip and 0-for-8 in New York, dropping his batting average to .223