Yankees take down Twins
MINNEAPOLIS — The Bronx Bombers proved worthy of their nickname Sunday.
The New York Yankees knocked around Minnesota Twins starter Ricky Nolasco early in a 9-7 win in the finale of a four-game series at Target Field.
Nolasco (5-7) lasted just two innings, allowing six earned runs and seven hits.
In all, the Yankees, who won three of the four games to improve to 14-4 at Target Field, collected 14 hits, 10 of which were singles. New York came into the game 20th of 30 major league teams in runs scored with 344.
Yankees center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury blew the game open with a three-run homer with two outs in the top of the second inning, giving the Yankees a 6-0 lead. Ellsbury’s blast went 406 feet over the wall in right field, driving home right fielder Ichiro Suzuki and third baseman Kelly Johnson.
Shortstop Derek Jeter, playing his final regular-season game at Target Field, drove in his second run with a single to right field in the fourth inning to give the Yankees a 7-0 lead.
The Yankees went ahead 8-0 when Johnson scored on a fielder’s choice by Ellsbury. A balk by Twins reliever Anthony Swarzak allowed first baseman Mark Teixeira to score from third to make it 9-0 New York in the fourth.
Yankees catcher Brian McCann, who was a late addition to Sunday’s lineup after missing the past two games with a sore foot, drove in the game’s first two runs with a double — knocking in left fielder Brett Gardner and Jeter — to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
Three straight singles to start the second inning and a sacrifice fly by Jeter made it 3-0. Jeter drove in second baseman Brian Roberts, who led off the inning with a single.
Nolasco, who was a combined 13-11 with a 3.70 ERA between the Dodgers and Marlins last year, signed the largest free-agent deal in Twins history — a four-year contract for $48 million — in the offseason.
Despite the early hole, the Twins were one swing from winning the game in the ninth inning. After an RBI single by right fielder Oswaldo Arcia against Yankees closer David Robertson cut the deficit to 9-7, catcher Kurt Suzuki had two men on with two outs. But he grounded out to Jeter to end the game.
The Twins scored their first run without generating a hit. Left fielder Josh Willingham scored on an errant throw by Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda trying to get right fielder Oswaldo Arcia out at first, making it 9-1.
Willingham reached base with a walk and advanced to second base on a wild pitch. Third baseman Trevor Plouffe had the Twins’ first RBI, driving home Suzuki with a double to right-center field to make it 9-2.
Designated hitter Chris Colabello cut the Twins’ deficit to 9-4 with a 409-foot, two-run homer to left center field on the first pitch he saw from Kuroda. It was Colabello’s sixth home run of the year.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Twins first baseman Chris Parmelee drove in second baseman Brian Dozier from third base with an infield sacrifice grounder to make it 9-5.
In the eighth, Plouffe made it 9-6 with a solo home run off reliever Jim Miller that traveled 406 feet to left center field.
Kuroda (6-6) went 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs, seven hits and two walks while striking out three. Robertson picked up his 21th save, which ranks third in the American League.
Notes: The Yankees acquired RHP Brandon McCarthy and cash considerations from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for LHP Vidal Nuno. McCarthy, 30, was 3-10 with a 5.01 ERA with Arizona. Nuno, 26, is 3-7 with a 4.78 ERA in 22 games spanning two seasons with the Yankees. ... Yankees LF Alfonso Soriano was designated for assignment Sunday, ending his second stint with the club. Soriano was hitting .221 with six home runs in 67 games this season. The move made room for RHP Bruce Billings on the Yankees’ roster. ... Twins SS Eduardo Nunez was added to the lineup for Sunday’s game against his former team. Nunez, who batted No. 2 in the order, was hitting .305 with three home runs for the Twins on the year. ... Yankees LF Brett Gardner reached base safely for a 21st straight game with a plate appearance with his first-inning walk. It’s the longest streak by a Yankee this year. ... Yankees C Brian McCann was a late addition to Sunday’s lineup after batting practice. McCann, who was plugged into the fifth spot in the order, missed the previous two games with a foot injury. ... An RBI single by Yankees SS Derek Jeter in the fourth inning off Twins RHP Anthony Swarzak snapped a streak of 16 scoreless innings by the Minnesota bullpen. ... Jeter drew a standing ovation from the Target Field crowd in his final at-bat, a single to left field.