MINNEAPOLIS -- Sometimes the game can shift with one swing.

Carlos Beltran took a big cut, sent a fastball soaring into the seats in right field and snapped the foundering New York Yankees out of their funk.

Beltran's three-run homer Thursday night lifted Masahiro Tanaka to his majors-leading 12th win and helped the Yankees stop a season-worst five-game losing streak with a 7-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

Zelous Wheeler homered in his big-league debut after nearly eight years in the minors. David Robertson notched his 19th save by striking out the side in a hitless ninth inning, and the Yankees started an 11-game road trip with a sigh-of-relief performance that put their record back at the .500 mark.

Phil Hughes (8-5) was rolling along against his former team, leading 2-0 until Beltran cleared the tall wall in right following consecutive singles to start the fifth. Wheeler went deep two batters later.

"Not knowing much about him, in a 3-1 count, I'm going to challenge him," Hughes said. "He put a good swing on it."

Tanaka (12-3) allowed a season-high four runs. He finished seven innings with nine hits and no walks while striking out a season-low three.

Through his interpreter, Tanaka said this was one of his worst starts of the season. Throwing only 85 pitches, at least, allowed the star Japanese rookie to maintain some freshness for the next turn.

With Eduardo Escobar on first after an RBI single in the seventh, Tanaka dodged serious trouble. Sam Fuld's screaming line drive went straight to Mark Teixeira, who easily stepped on first base for the double play to preserve the three-run lead.

Chris Parmelee drove in a run with a double in the first and Kurt Suzuki and Kendrys Morales had RBI groundouts, but the sputtering Twins missed their opportunities to put bigger numbers on the board like the Yankees did against Hughes.

The Twins have lost eight of 10 and fell a season-worst eight games under .500.

Wheeler had a single to help spark the three-run rally in the seventh, too, scoring on Brett Gardner's single after a one-out RBI double by Brendan Ryan chased Hughes. Derek Jeter drove in a run with a groundout.

The Yankees haven't been nearly as potent at the plate as they are paid to be, ranking 12th in runs and 10th in homers in the American League. They totaled one run over Tanaka's last two starts, both losses, but this was the breakout they needed.

 

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