MINNEAPOLIS -- CC Sabathia struck out nine in seven effective innings, leading the New York Yankees to a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Twins 3-2 at Target Field on Wednesday night.
Sabathia (9-6) got stronger the longer he lasted, recording six strikeouts from the fourth inning on. He threw 121 pitches and gave up two runs on seven hits and three walks.
New York employed the same game plan that has worked while winning each of the first three contests in the series: spot the Twins a small, early lead, then take it away in the later innings. Trailing 2-0, the Yankees scored three times off P.J. Walters in the sixth and never looked back.
New York's offense cranked it up in the sixth when Brett Gardner drew a leadoff walk and moved to third on Ichiro Suzuki's double off the wall in the right field corner.
Robinson Cano, who has been killing the Twins all series, followed with a double to right that scored Gardner and Suzuki to tie the game. Travis Hafner singled to left, moving Cano to third and ending Walters' night.
Caleb Thielbar came on to get three straight outs, but Cano scored on Lyle Overbay's sacrifice fly to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead.
Walters (2-5) pitched five-plus innings, giving up three runs on four hits and three walks. He struck out three.
David Robinson pitched the eighth inning for New York and set the Twins down in order. Mariano Rivera took over in the ninth and secured his 28th save of the season.
The Twins took a 1-0 lead in the third when Brian Dozier walked and Joe Mauer hit an RBI double to left-center. Ryan Doumit followed with a grounder to shortstop Luis Cruz (who was signed by the Yankees earlier in the day), and he threw the ball over Overbay's head at first, moving Mauer to third.
However, Sabathia worked out of it, striking out Justin Morneau, getting Trevor Plouffe to fly out to right and striking out Oswaldo Arcia.
Plouffe got Sabathia in his next at-bat, though, hitting his eighth home run of the season over the center field wall for a 2-0 lead.
NOTES: Sabathia became the 27th pitcher in major league history to win his 200th game before his 33rd birthday, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. ... Rivera ranks in the major leagues in saves behind Baltimore's Jim Johnson (29). ... Thielbar has yet to allow a run this season, tossing 18 2/3 scoreless innings over 16 appearances, both Twins records to start a career. ... Brian Dozier has been involved in 58 double plays this season, the seventh most ever in a season for a Twins second baseman.