Minneapolis, MN – Vernon Wells went 2-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored to help the New York Yankees complete a four-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins with a 9-5 triumph Thursday at Target Field.
Ichiro Suzuki finished a homer shy of the cycle and plated a pair of runs to go with two runs scored, while Luis Cruz and Zoilo Almonte added two hits and an RBI apiece for the Yankees, who swept a four-game set from the Twins in Minnesota for the first time since April 18-21, 2003.
David Phelps (6-5) yielded four runs on eight hits while striking out five over 6 1/3 innings to earn the victory.
Justin Morneau smacked a pair of solo home runs for the Twins, with Brian Dozier, Joe Mauer and Pedro Florimon each adding an RBI in the setback, Minnesota's fifth in a row.
"Offensively we really didn't do an awful lot," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We kept battling through it and got ourselves within striking distance, but they finished it off there at the end."
Kyle Gibson (1-1), making his second career start, was shelled for eight runs on 11 hits over 5 1/3 frames to absorb the loss.
The Yankees jumped on Gibson in the first, as Suzuki smacked a leadoff double, moved to third on Almonte's single, and scored when Robinson Cano lifted a sacrifice fly to left field to make it 1-0.
After Travis Hafner doubled to left, Wells ripped a base hit down the left- field line to score Almonte and Hafner for a 3-0 cushion.
The Yankees tacked on two more runs in the third, as Hafner was hit by a pitch to start the frame before moving to second on a wild pitch. Wells then stroked a double to left to score Hafner before Cruz laced a single to left to plate Wells for a 5-0 lead.
Minnesota finally cracked the scoreboard in the fourth when Morneau launched a one-out blast into the right-field seats to make it 5-1.
However, New York pushed four runs across in the sixth to open an eight-run cushion. Lyle Overbay worked a leadoff walk and Cruz followed with a double before Alberto Gonzalez's single to right scored Overbay for a 6-1 edge.
"I feel very happy, very pleased to finally get the opportunity to be able to support my team," Gonzalez said through an interpreter.
Cruz was thrown out at the plate on Austin Romine's fielder's choice to second before Brian Duensing was summoned from the bullpen to face Suzuki, who scorched a triple to center to score two more runs.
Almonte capped the inning with an RBI groundout to third to make it 9-1.
Minnesota made things interesting in the late innings, as Chris Parmelee and Aaron Hicks started the seventh with consecutive singles. After Parmelee moved to third on a fly out, Florimon laced a single to right to bring the Twins within 9-2 and chase Phelps from the contest.
Joba Chamberlain entered from the bullpen and served up a run-scoring single to Dozier before he was lifted in favor of Boone Logan.
Mauer lifted Logan's third offering into left field for a sacrifice fly to make it 9-4, but Logan got Oswaldo Arcia to fly out to left to end the inning.
The Twins continued to chip away in the eighth, as Morneau led off with his second blast of the day into right-center field to trim the deficit to 9-5.
Trevor Plouffe then singled and Parmelee worked a walk to end Logan's outing, as Shawn Kelley took over on the mound.
Kelley fanned Hicks and Clete Thomas for the first two outs before grounding out pinch-hitter Ryan Doumit to escape the threat.
David Robertson retired the Twins in order in the ninth to secure the victory.
It was New York's sixth sweep of the season and second of at least four games ... The Yankees improved to 14-3 against the AL Central this season ... Cano finished 0-for-4, snapping a string of six straight multi-hit games ... Minnesota fell to 28-31 all-time on Independence Day ... Minnesota went 2- for-9 with runners in scoring position and left seven runners on base.