Trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Alex Rodriguez’s 19th career grand slam gave New York a lead they would not relinquish in an 8-4 win over Minnesota Friday night at Yankee Stadium.
Joba Chamberlain (1-1) struck out the side in the eighth inning to earn the win. Scott Baker (4-3) suffered the loss despite striking out nine in six innings.
Minnesota’s struggles at Yankee Stadium continued. Including last year’s postseason, the Twins have lost 11 straight games in New York. Their last win in the Bronx was a 6-2 triumph on July 4, 2007. Since 2002, Minnesota is 3-24 at Yankee Stadium.
With New York trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh, the Yankees had runners at second and third and no outs. Mark Teixeira was intentionally walked with one out, and reliever Matt Guerrier entered to face Rodriguez.
After just missing a double down the third base line, Rodriguez blasted his 19th career grand slam over the left field wall to give the Yankees a 7-4 advantage. Of Rodriguez’s five career hits against Guerrier, four have been home runs.
Rodriguez’s grand slam was his 587th career home run. He moved past Frank Robinson for sole possession of seventh place.
Earlier in the game, both teams squandered golden scoring opportunities.
In the top of the second against A.J. Burnett, Minnesota loaded the bases with no outs on a single, walk, and error. After Nick Punto earned an RBI on a four-pitch walk, Burnett induced Denard Span to hit into a 1-2-3 double play. Burnett then struck out Orlando Hudson to end the inning and limit the damage.
Baker only allowed one hit over the first three innings. However, Brett Gardner led off the bottom of the fourth with his second home run of the season. After the next two hitters reached, Robinson Cano’s RBI ground rule double down the right field line gave New York a 2-1 lead. With runners at second and third and no outs, Baker ended the rally by striking out the next three hitters.
The Yankees inability to score more than one run in the bottom of the fourth allowed the Twins to tie the game in the top of the fifth. With two outs, Joe Mauer hit his second home run of the season. Mauer finished the game 3-for-4 with two RBI.
The Yankees immediately answered with a two-out rally in the bottom of the fifth. Gardner singled with two outs and scored on Mark Teixeira’s run-scoring double. It was Teixeira’s 17th RBI of the month.
Minnesota prevented further damage when Delmon Young threw out Teixeira as he tried to score on Robinson Cano’s single. The final Yankee run scored on Francisco Cervelli’s RBI triple in the eighth.
After allowing a season-high nine runs at Boston on Sunday, Burnett received a no decision after allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits over 6.2 innings. He struck out four and walked four. Baker gave up five runs on 10 hits in six innings with nine strikeouts and one walk.
Minnesota and New York will resume their three-game series on Saturday. Francisco Liriano (4-1, 2.36) will start for the Twins, while the Yankees will counter with Andy Pettitte (4-0, 2.08). First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m. ET.