Phil Hughes turned in a second straight strong outing and received some much-needed offensive support in the New York Yankees' 7-3 win over the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.
Hughes (4-7) stopped a three-start losing skid, during which the Yankees totaled a combined two runs, by yielding just one run on six hits over seven sharp innings. The effort came five days after the right-hander tossed eight frames of two-run ball in a hard-luck 2-0 defeat to Texas.
"I just tried to stay aggressive, it seemed like they were as well and that played to my advantage," said Hughes. "Got a lot of quick outs, I made a couple mistakes but got away with most of them."
He got plenty of help in this one, with Robinson Cano homering for a third consecutive game as part of a 2-for-4, three-RBI night and Alberto Gonzalez also collecting two hits and driving in three runs.
David Adams added a pair of hits and two runs scored and Ichiro Suzuki went 2- for-4 with an RBI single to contribute to New York's second straight victory after entering this four-game series having lost five in a row.
Brian Dozier had a two-run double in the ninth inning for Minnesota and Joe Mauer delivered an RBI single in the loss, the Twins' sixth in eight tilts.
Samuel Deduno (4-3) worked six innings for Minnesota and was reached for three runs on five hits.
The Yankees could do little against a dominant Deduno early on, as the right- hander celebrated his 30th birthday by setting down the first 10 hitters -- including nine straight on groundouts to begin the contest.
He was far less effective in the fifth inning, however, as New York broke through with three runs to erase a 1-0 deficit.
Singles by Lyle Overbay and Adams put two Yankees aboard with one out, and the light-hitting Gonzalez knocked in both runners with a line-drive double down the right-field line that put New York ahead. He later scored when Deduno couldn't handle Suzuki's dribbler towards the first-base side that stayed fair for a single.
Hughes kept the Twins off the board over the next two innings before the Yankees broke things open against the Minnesota bullpen in the seventh.
Adams doubled off Anthony Swarzak and came around on Gonzalez's second hit of the night. A two-out single by Suzuki then set the stage for Cano's no-doubt homer onto the concourse in right that increased the lead to 7-1.
Minnesota took a 1-0 edge when Aaron Hicks doubled to begin the bottom of the third and Mauer singled him home three batters afterward, but squandered an opportunity to move in front further an inning later.
The Twins had two men in scoring position with none out after Trevor Plouffe drew a walk and Oswaldo Arcia doubled to left, but Hughes got both Chris Parmelee and Hicks on called third strikes in front of Pedro Florimon's groundout to short.
"Unfortunately we missed our opportunity, we had second and third with no outs and didn't get one in," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.
Minnesota did make a belated bid in the ninth, with Arcia and Hicks reaching on singles while facing Preston Claiborne and Dozier keeping hope alive by stroking a two-out double to the base of the wall in left that plated both runners. Mauer then drew a walk to force Yankees manager Joe Girardi to summon Mariano Rivera into the game.
The veteran closer needed just two pitches to end it, with Ryan Doumit grounding into a fielder's choice that forced Mauer at second for Rivera's 27th save of the season.
Deduno lost for only the second time (7-2) in 11 career Target Field starts. He had gone 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA in his three previous home assignments this season ... Hicks was activated from the 15-day disabled list prior to the game and went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, with Minnesota placing outfielder Josh Willingham on the DL with a torn medial meniscus in his left knee in a corresponding move ... Cano, who homered twice in Monday's 10-4 triumph, has gone 12-for-21 through the first five games of this road trip and reached the 20-homer mark for the fifth consecutive season, trailing only Joe Gordon (7) for the most in a row by a second baseman in AL history ... Mauer's RBI single in the third inning snapped an 0-for-18 skid ... The Yankees improved to 9-3 all-time at Target Field.