Yanks visit Twins aiming to further division lead

The New York Yankees attempt to stretch their lead atop the American League East on Tuesday when they continue a three-game set with the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.

New York won for the eighth time in nine tries in Monday's opener, as Andy Pettitte's six scoreless innings were backed by four home runs and the Yankees rolled to a 6-3 win.

Pettitte (5-3) scattered seven hits and a walk while striking out three to win his 10th straight decision -- including playoffs -- against Minnesota. He has not lost to the club since April 30, 2001.

"I still feel like I'm struggling with a little bit of stuff, but it was a good outing," Pettitte said. "Obviously if you can go out there and throw six scoreless that's good."

Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson, Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez all went deep for the Yankees, who increased their lead over Baltimore for the top spot in the AL East to 1 1/2 games after the Orioles split a doubleheader with Toronto on Monday.

Derek Jeter also extended his hitting streak to 18 in the win.

Liam Hendriks (1-8) surrendered six runs on eight hits and a walk through 6 1/3 innings for Minnesota, which had its two-game win streak stopped.

On Tuesday, New York turns to righty Phil Hughes, who is 16-12 with a 4.05 ERA. Hughes won his third straight start on Thursday against the Blue Jays, but was not particularly sharp, as he allowed four runs and four hits in five innings.

"Change-up command came and went. Fastball was kind of all over the place," Hughes said. "It was a nice night to get a lot of runs because I definitely needed it."

Hughes, who has allowed the third most home runs in the AL (34), owns the highest ERA of any pitcher in the league with at least 15 wins. The Yankees, though, have provided him with 5.6 runs per start.

Hughes beat the Twins the last time he faced them and is 2-0 with a 2.66 ERA in five games (3 starts).

Minnesota, meanwhile, will rely on righty Esmerling Vasquez, who is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA. Vasquez did not get a decision on Thursday in Cleveland, as he surrendered three runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings.

This will be his first start against the Yankees.

New York has won 19 of its last 25 regular season meetings with the Twins since the start 2009 campaign, but it is just 3-2 against them this season.