The New York Yankees have won nine of 12 to start July and they'll look to keep that momentum rolling on Saturday afternoon as they continue their three-game series with the Minnesota Twins.
Offense was difficult to come by in Friday night's opener, but the Yankees used a fifth-inning rally to catapult them to a 2-0 win.
Brett Gardner knocked home an RBI in the bottom of the fifth with a single to give the home team the lead and Robinson Cano plated Gardner just a few batters later for his 63rd RBI.
Five pitchers combined for the shutout, with Hiroki Kuroda (8-6) earning the win after pitching five scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to 2.65 in the process. Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect ninth for his 30th save.
Scott Diamond started the game for the Twins and didn't allow a run, but he failed to make it out of the fourth inning. Ryan Pressly (2-2) gave up both runs in the fifth and was handed the loss.
Minnesota actually finished with more hits (8) than the Yankees (6) but struck out 12 times and left 20 men on base. Joe Mauer had two hits in the loss to raise his batting average to .319.
"We had opportunities and we put men out there, just didn't come up with any big hits again, kinda what our storyline's been," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Get them out there and missed opportunities."
The Twins will send Samuel Deduno to the mound on Saturday afternoon. Deduno, who joined the rotation in late May, is 4-4 with a 3.90 ERA.
After an impressive June where he won three of five starts and boasted a 2.61 ERA, Deduno has fallen off in July, going 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA in two starts. He most recently allowed 10 hits, two walks and five earned runs in a July 8 loss to Tampa Bay.
In 7 2/3 career innings against the Yankees, Deduno has allowed just five hits, although he's never before pitched in Yankee Stadium.
For New York, Phil Hughes (4-8, 4.55) will try to improve upon his lackluster season.
Hughes allowed just four hits and walked none in his most previous outing on July 8, but he exited following just four innings after a rain delay, and he was eventually saddled with the loss against the Royals, giving him four losses in his last five starts.
"It's tough. I felt like I really found something," Hughes said of his abbreviated start. "In the third and fourth innings I felt pretty good, but that's baseball."
Hughes had one of his best starts of the season against the Twins just a few weeks ago, allowing one run in seven innings to earn the win on July 2.
New York swept a four-game set from the Twins last week and has beaten them in eight of the last nine meetings.