video thumbnail

NYY@MIN: Cano drills a two-run shot to tie game at 3

MINNEAPOLIS -- The walls of the visiting clubhouse were rattling with the bass of hip-hop music, and when one of the Yankees reached to adjust the stereo volume for the TV cameras, a hiss came from the back of the room. So, yes, they'd been waiting a while for this.

Robinson Cano homered twice and the Yankees took advantage of the Twins bullpen with some late-game small ball, scoring three times in the eighth inning and adding four more runs in the ninth to run away with a 10-4 victory on Monday at Target Field.

"That's what you want, because when you're losing games, you're just trying to figure out how to win the game," said Cano, who leads the club with 19 homers. "I would say a win like this, hopefully we can go from there and just start winning games."

The victory snapped New York's five-game losing streak, crediting Joe Girardi with his 600th career managerial victory and giving the team something to smile about. The Yankees had not exploded for a double-digit run total since May 10 against the Royals, a span of 48 games.

"There's definitely a much better feeling in here tonight than we've had in some time," Girardi said. "Robbie really got us going with the two home runs, and then we were able to score seven runs in the last two innings."

Minnesota held a 4-3 lead heading to the eighth, as Cano greeted reliever Jared Burton with a double up the gap in right-center field. Pinch-hitting for Vernon Wells in the cleanup spot, Ichiro Suzuki pressed the defense by legging out a bunt to the mound, placing runners at the corners.

Concerned with Ichiro at first base, Burton fired an errant pickoff throw into right field, permitting Cano to score the tying run.

"He threw over to first base basically two times on his own and launched it and didn't field the bunt," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "So I guess he got flabbergasted is the word. And it went from there."

Zoilo Almonte punched a ground-ball single through the left side of the infield for the second of his three hits, scoring Ichiro and giving the Yankees the lead.

The Yankees added another run in the eighth and then batted around for four more in a sloppy ninth inning, giving Mariano Rivera a healthy cushion to record the final three outs. Joba Chamberlain picked up his first win for a scoreless seventh inning.

"We finally got those hits with runners in scoring position that we haven't been getting," catcher Chris Stewart said. "I thought that was a pretty big confidence booster for us."

The rally took Andy Pettitte off the hook on a night in which the veteran left-hander made history by surpassing Whitey Ford for the club's all-time strikeout record, but was unable to assume his vintage role as the Bombers' stopper.

"It makes it a lot easier to swallow that we were able to come back and win," Pettitte said. "We've obviously been scuffling and we needed a win. The guys swung the bats, we got a lot of hits tonight. Hopefully we can continue to build on this one."

The 41-year-old labored in a three-run, 42-pitch first inning that included an ugly throwing error on a slow Oswaldo Arcia roller, as Pettitte fell to his rear and fired the ball down the right-field line in foul territory.

Ryan Doumit also had a two-run single in the first inning off Pettitte, coming after Cano slugged a solo homer to give the Yankees an early lead off Twins starter Scott Diamond in the top half of the inning.

Cano also blasted a two-run homer off Diamond in the third inning as New York evened the score.

"He's aggressive. He's a tough out and really spoiled it for us tonight," Diamond said.

Cano's bat is suddenly red-hot, as he has homered in back-to-back games and strung together four straight multihit games, hitting .588 (10-for-17) over that span.

"Hopefully I can continue doing that because you know how baseball is," Cano said. "You can be hot for an amount of time and next thing you know, you go through a slump. Hopefully not."

Pettitte served up a homer to Chris Parmelee opening the sixth inning, the last batter he faced, giving Minnesota the lead as Diamond held the Yankees to three runs (two earned) and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings.

"After that first inning, you didn't really know how deep he was going to go," Stewart said. "Fortunately we went in there and he got to the sixth inning for us. It was big."

Pettitte scattered six hits in five-plus innings, striking out two to run his Yankees strikeout total to 1,958 -- one more than Ford compiled during his 16-season, Hall of Fame career with the Yankees.

"It's cool," Pettitte said. "I feel very honored to be able to be with this organization for so long. It's very special."

The Yankees have needed a bit of good news, and there was a sense of relief that some had finally arrived.

"Our guys have really kept a good attitude, even in our tough times," Girardi said. "I have not seen them hang their heads. They've kept the fight. They keep fighting, and that's what you want to see. Eventually it pays off."

MLB.com Comments