Jason Kubel’s two-out, eighth-inning grand slam off Mariano Rivera powered Minnesota to a 6-3 win over New York Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
With the win, Minnesota ended a 12-game losing streak in New York. The Twins had not won a game at Yankee Stadium since July 4, 2007.
New York lost for just the third time in 15 home games this season.
Trailing 3-1 in the top of the eighth, Minnesota loaded the bases on two singles and a walk against Joba Chamberlain (1-2). After Michael Cuddyer’s infield single with two outs, Rivera entered the game and forced in a run by walking Jim Thome. It was Rivera’s first bases-loaded walk since 2005.
Kubel, who entered the game hitting .224, then stepped to the plate. He drove a 1-0 pitch over the right field wall for his third home run and sixth career grand slam.
Rivera allowed his first grand slam since Bill Selby’s blast for Cleveland on July 14, 2002. In addition, Rivera’s major league record of 51 consecutive converted save opportunities was snapped. The Yankee closer also allowed his first runs of the season after 11 scoreless innings.
Trailing by three in the bottom of the ninth, New York rallied against Twins closer Jon Rauch. Randy Winn and Ramiro Pena led off the inning with singles. However, with the tying run at the plate, Rauch struck out Derek Jeter, Brett Gardner, and Mark Teixeira to end the game for his 10th save.
Minnesota grabbed an early lead in the top of the second inning on Justin Morneau’s leadoff home run off Yankees starter Sergio Mitre. Despite allowing Morneau’s home run, Mitre was effective in receiving a no-decision. He limited the Twins to one run on four hits with three strikeouts and one walk in five innings.
New York immediately answered in the bottom of the second. After Jorge Posada singled and Marcus Thames walked with two outs, Winn’s two-out, two-run triple gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead.
The Yankees had another scoring opportunity in the bottom of the fifth against Twins starter Nick Blackburn. With runners at first and third and one out, Teixeira tallied an RBI on a sinking line drive that went in and out of the glove of center fielder Denard Span. It was Teixeira’s 20th RBI in 15 games this month.
Blackburn escaped further damage by retiring Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano with runners at second and third and one out.
Blackburn earned the win after allowing three runs on nine hits over seven innings. He also struck out four and walked one. Blackburn became the first Twins pitcher since Johan Santana in 2007 to earn a victory at Yankee Stadium.
New York will open a brief two-game series against Boston at Yankee Stadium Monday night. Daisuke Matsuzaka (2-1, 6.35) will start for Boston, while Phil Hughes (5-0, 1.38) will counter for New York. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.
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