Kubel grand slam helps Twins end slide

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Jason Kubel blasted a grand slam in the eighth inning to help the Minnesota Twins earn their first win over the New York Yankees in nearly two years with a 6-3 victory on Sunday.

The Twins rallied from down 3-1 with five runs in the eighth, capped by Kubel's blast against closer Mariano Rivera.

Rivera came on in place of Joba Chamberlain with two outs and the bases loaded. The five-time World Series champion walked in one run before surrendering his first grand slam since 2002.

"That doesn't happen very often, so take pictures," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told reporters of Rivera giving up the home run. "He's as good as they get. The best I've ever seen in the game."

Minnesota starter Nick Blackburn pitched seven innings in the win as the Twins (23-14) ended a 12-game losing streak against the Yankees in a stretch that included last year's three-game sweep in the American League divisional playoffs.

Reliever Jon Rauch allowed two hits to start the ninth then preserved the win by striking out Derek Jeter, Brett Gardner and Mark Teixeira for his 10th save of the year.

Randy Winn finished 2-for-4 with a two-RBI triple for the Yankees (24-13) who went up two runs in the fifth where Mark Teixeira hit an RBI single.

The World Series champion Yankees were in good position to win the game after starter Sergio Mitre completed five innings while only allowing a solo home run to Justin Morneau before the bullpen let him down.

Kubel's home run was his third of the season but was his sixth career grand slam.

"It was a good pitch that was off the plate," Kubel said.

"It's a pretty good feeling. It's an even better feeling that we finally beat them."

(Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Kevin Fylan/Greg Stutchbury)