MINNEAPOLIS - Offense helps, too.
On a day dominated by the Yankees' attempt to prop up their rotation by acquiring Brandon McCarthy, they swung the bats in a manner that's been missing for much of the season, collecting 14 hits in a 9-7 victory over the Twins Sunday at Target Field.
The Yankees (44-43), who built a 9-0 lead in the top of the fourth but allowed the Twins to bring the potential winning run to the plate in the ninth, took three of four. They head to Cleveland feeling far better about themselves than when they arrived here Wednesday night on a five-game losing streak.
"We swung the bats well and we needed it, because we hadn't been swinging the bats well for a while," said Mark Teixeira, who had two hits, including an RBI single in a two-run first inning. "It just gives us a little boost to know that we still have it in us."
The Yankees, who got three hits from Derek Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki and four RBIs from Jacoby Ellsbury, took a 6-0 lead against Ricky Nolasco, who left after two innings. Ellsbury provided the big hit, a three-run homer in a four-run second. A three-run fourth, highlighted by a run-scoring single from Jeter (two RBIs) and an RBI forceout by Ellsbury, made it 9-0.
"Sometimes you can't really pinpoint it," Ellsbury said of the moribund offense's totaling 22 runs in the three victories. "But we like where we're at right now and hopefully we can keep it rolling. Guys are just putting good at-bats together. They're looking confident at the plate."
Hiroki Kuroda (6-6) got some rare run support and pitched well enough to win, allowing four runs -- all in the fourth, capped by Chris Colabello's two-run homer -- and seven hits in 52/3 innings. "With the stuff that I had today," Kuroda said through his translator, "it was important that the offense picked me up."
The Yankees did not score after the fourth but didn't have to, although the Twins (39-48) made it interesting late.
They scored one against Adam Warren in the seventh to make it 9-5 and had runners at the corners before Warren struck out Oswaldo Arcia looking to end the rally.
In the eighth, Jim Miller allowed Trevor Plouffe's sixth homer, which made it 9-6.
David Robertson allowed one-out singles to former Yankee Eduardo Nuñez and Chris Parmelee in the ninth. Robertson struck out home run threat Josh Willingham on three pitches, but Arcia delivered a single that made it 9-7.
With runners at the corners, Robertson got Kurt Suzuki on a forceout to end it, recording his 21st save in 23 chances.
"We've liked our lineup the whole year,'' Joe Girardi said. "It's been a lot of ups and downs, but hopefully the four days here got 'em going and it carries on next week and the rest of the year.''
Notes & quotes: Brian McCann, who missed Saturday's game because of a sore left foot, felt good during batting practice and was a late addition to the lineup. "It shouldn't be a problem,'' said McCann, who had an RBI double in the first. "Hopefully, it doesn't come back.'' . . . Jeter's single in the ninth was his 3,400th hit. He's the eighth player in major-league history to reach that plateau.