Ellsbury, Yankees Take Huge Lead, Hold Off Twins
MINNEAPOLIS -- Hours after trading Vidal Nuno to Arizona for Brandon McCarthy and cutting outfielder Alfonso Soriano, the New York Yankees took a nine-run lead by the fourth inning and seemed set for a laugher at Target Field.
The game ended with the potential go-ahead run at the plate.
Jacoby Ellsbury homered, doubled and drove in four runs as Yankees beat the Minnesota Twins 9-7 Sunday after their roster shakeup and moved back above .500 at 44-43.
Derek Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki each had three hits for the Yankees, who have won 14 of 18 overall at Target Field.
Jeter’s ninth-inning single made him the eighth player to reach 3,400 hits.
New York took three of four from the Twins after losing nine of its previous 11.
The 38-year-old Soriano is in the final year of a $136 million, eight-year contract he signed with the Chicago Cubs, who traded him last summer to the Yankees, where he began his big league career. He was hitting .221 this season with six homers and 23 RBIs in 67 games. New York has 10 days to trade Soriano or place him on unconditional waivers.
New York catcher Brian McCann returned to the lineup after missing two games because of a sore foot and doubled home Jeter in the first. Ellsbury’s three-run homer off Ricky Nolasco (5-7) capped a four-run burst in the second that made it 6-0.
Hiroki Kuroda (6-6) allowed four runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings, his poorest outing since mid-June. Minnesota closed with four runs in the fourth, and one in each of the last three innings. After Oswaldo Arcia’s two-out RBI single pulled the Twins within two runs and left runners at the corners, David Robertson got Kurt Suzuki to hit a grounder to shortstop, where Jeter threw to second baseman Brian Roberts for the final out. Robertson got his 21st save in 23 chances.
Jeter drove in two runs in his last scheduled game at Minnesota, although he’s expected back later this month for the All-Star game.
Nolasco lasted a season-low two innings as Minnesota lost for the 10th time in 13 games.
“They hit everything he threw up there,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We got to go better than that. He did nothing for us today. He didn’t give us a chance.”
Trevor Plouffe had an RBI double in the fourth and Chris Colabello followed with a two-run homer, his second home run in three games since his recall from the minors. Plouffe added a solo home run in the eighth.
“Can’t keep getting behind like this. It just gets back to that,” Gardenhire said. “It’s the starting pitching. It’s not about anything other than that. We’ve been struggling scoring runs. We finally put some on the board. But you start a game 6-0, that’s no way to play baseball.”
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