Three homers help Twins belt Yankees
By Larry Fleisher
NEW YORK — Ricky Nolasco picked up his first win in over a month by pitching six innings and the Minnesota Twins hit a season-high three home runs in a 6-1 victory over the New York Yankees on Friday night.
Right fielder Oswaldo Arcia and left fielder Josh Willingham supported Nolasco’s first victory since April 24 by hitting solo home runs. Third baseman Trevor Plouffe added a two-run homer for the Twins, who won for just the second time in their last eight games.
Catcher Kurt Suzuki and designated hitter Eduardo Nunez added RBI singles for Minnesota, which has won three straight in New York for the first time since 1992.
Nolasco (3-5) had been 0-3 with a 5.58 ERA in his last five starts since beating Tampa Bay on April 24 and had an 8.63 ERA in six previous road starts. On Friday, the right-hander allowed one run and seven hits while getting two key defensive plays after Minnesota opened a 4-1 lead.
The Twins executed a 9-2-4-2-5-2 rundown for the second out in the fifth when Arcia fielded Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter’s single. Gardner was held up at third base but overran the bag and Suzuki and Plouffe finished off the rundown as Jeter reached third. Nolasco ended the fifth by getting center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury on a foulout to third.
In the sixth, Nolasco put two on base after walking first baseman Mark Teixeira for the third time and giving up an infield single to right fielder Ichiro Suzuki.
The Yankees appeared to have their second run when rookie third baseman Yangervis Solarte singled to right, but Arcia made a strong one-hop throw and Teixeira was easily tagged out.
After Nolasco worked around four walks while throwing 59-of-107 pitches for strikes, Caleb Thielbar pitched a perfect seventh. Casey Fien did the same in the eighth and closer Glen Perkins finished in a non-save situation.
Ellsbury had an RBI double for the Yankees. Starter Vidal Nuno (1-2) allowed four runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Minnesota took a 1-0 lead with one out in the second when Arcia drove a fastball into the second deck in right field. It was Arcia’s second home run of the season and first since being recalled from the minors on Monday.
The Twins lost leadoff hitter Danny Santana with one out in the third after the helmet him in the head and bloodied him during a headfirst slide. The Twins said he had a lacerated upper left eyelid that required stitches.
The Yankees tied it with two outs in the third when Ellsbury doubled, scoring left fielder Brett Gardner, who had stolen second. They stranded runners at first and second when catcher Brian McCann softly grounded out to first base.
Minnesota quickly regained the lead when Willingham opened the fourth with a long home run into the visiting bullpen beyond the left-center field fence. The Twins increased their lead to 4-1 when Plouffe hit a long home run to straightaway center field.
The Yankees ran themselves out of the fifth when Gardner was caught in a rundown between third and home. Gardner overran third on Jeter’s single and the fifth ended when Ellsbury fouled out.