The New York Yankees have swung the bat well in the Bronx all season, but they've been rather inconsistent at the plate away from home.
The AL East leaders look to change that as they seek a fifth straight victory in the opener of a season high-tying 10-game road trip Friday night against the Minnesota Twins.
New York (53-41) is on the verge of going 13 games over .500 for the first time since finishing 95-67 in 2012 after completing a 5-1 homestand. Jacoby Ellsbury homered and drove in four runs and Chase Headley hit a three-run double in Thursday's 9-3 win over Baltimore, the Yankees' ninth in 11 tries.
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Didi Gregorius and John Ryan Murphy had three hits apiece as the Nos. 6-9 batters combined for nine of the Yankees' 13 hits. Brett Gardner, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, who went 9 for 16 with two homers and four doubles over his previous four, were 0 for 11 with five strikeouts.
"We've got a deep lineup," Headley said. "Obviously the guys in the middle have been tremendous, and the guys in the beginning have been tremendous as well. But there's a lot of guys throughout the lineup that can do damage."
The Yankees have one of the best home averages in the majors at .272, but their .237 mark on the road ranks near the bottom. Teixeira is 4 for 38 (.105) in his last 11 road games, and Rodriguez is hitting .237 on the road compared to .306 at home.
New York won three of its last four road games heading into the All-Star break, though, including when Michael Pineda (9-6, 3.77 ERA) gave up one run in 6 2-3 innings of a 5-1 victory over Boston on July 10.
That completed a three-start stretch during which Pineda went 1-1 with a 1.25 ERA before he allowed four runs in six innings of a 4-3 home loss to Seattle on Saturday on seven days' rest.
"He's a guy that likes to work," Girardi said. "He's a guy that, I said, when you have these long layoffs, you worry. But, in the long run, I think it helps. In the short term, you worry a little bit."
The right-hander is 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA in two starts against the Twins, both coming in 2011. Pineda's 7.53 strikeout-to-walk ratio leads the AL, with Phil Hughes ranking third at 6.00 after walking three in 41 innings and going 4-0 with a 2.85 ERA over his last six starts.
Hughes (8-6, 4.15) has allowed eight of his AL-most 23 homers during that stretch, but the solo shot he surrendered Saturday was the only run he allowed over seven innings before the Twins fell 3-2 to Oakland in 10.
The right-hander, who pitched seven seasons for the Yankees before signing with the Twins prior to last year, gave up two homers and seven runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 7-4 loss the last time he faced his former team July 3, 2014.
The Twins look to provide Hughes with some run support in their return home from a six-game trip. Minnesota (51-44) scored five times during a four-game losing streak before Trevor Plouffe's three-run homer accounted for all the scoring in Thursday's shutout of the Los Angeles Angels.
Minnesota, hitting .279 at home on the season, has outscored opponents 64-33 while winning eight of 10 at Target Field.