The Minnesota Twins and the New York Yankees will close out the first half of the 2013 season on Sunday afternoon with the rubber match of their three-game series.
The Twins had been losers of six straight games before claiming Saturday afternoon's contest, 4-1.
With the game tied at 1-1 in the seventh inning, Ryan Doumit blasted what proved to be the game-winning home run, his ninth of the season.
"It's a big sigh of relief," Doumit said. "This has been a tough road trip, no doubt."
Pedro Florimon added a two-run shot in the eighth inning to put the game out of reach. Trevor Plouffe also left the yard earlier in the day for his 10th longball of the season.
Samuel Deduno (5-4) was strong in the victory, allowing just one earned run over seven innings of work. After Casey Fien worked a scoreless eighth, Glen Perkins shut the door in the ninth for his 21st save.
Phil Hughes (4-9) allowed only five hits and one walk in 7 1/3 innings but was plagued by the home run ball, resulting in four earned runs. His 10 strikeouts were a season high.
"I thought it was some of the better stuff he's had all year," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Hughes. "I think he threw the ball exceptionally well except for a few mistakes."
The Yankees got their only run in the bottom of the first inning, when Robinson Cano singled in Ichiro Suzuki.
Despite the loss, New York has still dominated Minnesota over the past few seasons, going 32-8 in the last 40 matchups.
The Twins will send prized right-hander Kyle Gibson to the hill on Saturday afternoon. After winning his Major League debut on June 29, Gibson has dropped back-to-back starts to fall to 1-2 with a 7.27 ERA.
The 25-year-old former first-round pick most recently lost to Tampa Bay on July 9. Although he allowed just four hits in six innings, he walked four and was responsible for four earned runs.
"I thought Gibby threw the ball well except one inning where just lost the strike zone," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of his rookie. "I thought he settled in after that and went back out there for a couple more good innings."
Gibson proved his worth at Triple-A Rochester earlier this year, going 7-5 with a 3.01 ERA over 92 2/3 innings.
The Yankees will respond with their ace, with CC Sabathia (9-7, 3.99 ERA) toeing the rubber looking for his 10th win of the season. He has won double- digit games prior to the All-Star break three times before in his career.
Sabathia was strong in his latest outing, pitching a complete game while allowing three earned runs, but he was out-dueled by James Shields as the Yankees lost 3-1 to Kansas City on July 9.
The southpaw defeated the Twins just two weeks ago when he allowed two runs and struck out nine in seven innings on July 3. He's now 17-8 in his career against Minnesota with a 2.96 ERA.
New York swept a four-game set from the Twins last week and has beaten them in eight of the last 10 meetings.