MINNEAPOLIS -- The Yankees stopped the bleeding of a five-game losing streak in Thursday’s 7-4 win over the Twins and climbed back to .500.
The Yankees are 42-42 for just the third time since 1995 and the first since 2007.
They trail the first-place Blue Jays by four games in the AL East.
Defensive Gardner: A day after throwing a runner out at the plate, left fielder Brett Gardner ran in from the outfield to help with a rundown in a 9-4-2-5-7 putout of Chris Parmelee in the first inning. Parmelee jacked a RBI double to right field and was caught between second and third.
Back on track: With the Yankees' bats actually helping out, Masahiro Tanaka (12-3) was able to give up a career high in hits (9) and earned runs (4) to the Twins and still come away with the win to end his two-game skid. He lasted seven innings and struck out three batters. Tanaka’s 16 quality starts to begin his career ties Steve Rogers for most since ER has been tracked.
Trying to impress your ex: Former Yankee Phil Hughes (8-5) lasted 6 1/3 innings and struck out six but gave up at least five earned runs for the third straight start. Hughes retired the first six batters he faced before the Yankees’ first hit came from Ichiro Suzuki in the third inning. Derek Jeter struck out swinging in the sixth and went 0-for-3 against Hughes.
Shining debut: Zelous Wheeler's first career major league hit went 413 feet into the center-field stands of Target Field to give the Yankees a 4-2 lead in the fifth inning. Wheeler, who was making his first start in place of demoted Yangervis Solarte, got his first hit, home run and RBI in one swing off a 3-1 count from Hughes. Wheeler finished 2-for-4 on the night.
Coming to life: The Yankees desperately needed life from the middle of their batting order and got just enough to skate by with a win on Thursday. Batting fourth through sixth, the combination of Mark Teixeira, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran accounted for four of the Yankees’ 10 hits and three of seven RBIs. The trio, collectively hitting .229 on the season, hit 4-for-12 (.333) on Thursday night.
Slipped up: Filling in for Brian Roberts at second base, Brendan Ryan slipped collecting himself after grabbing a line drive by the Twins’ Sam Fuld. The delay caused the throw to be late enough to allow the base hit.
The Twins jumped to a 2-0 lead after Ryan muffed another catch in the same inning off Kurt Suzuki's line drive, giving Fuld ample time to reach home from third base before Ryan threw out Suzuki at first.
Ryan did notch his first extra-base hit of the season with an RBI double in the seventh inning to score Suzuki and give the Yankees a 5-3 lead.
Moving up ranks: The Yankees mustered just one hit in the first four innings before rattling off three straight in the fifth, ending with Beltran’s three-run homer that went 401 feet into the right-field stands. It’s Beltran’s ninth homer on the year and 367th of his career. Beltran moved into fourth place on baseball’s all-time home run list for switch-hitters. Mickey Mantle (536), Eddie Murray (504), Chipper Jones (468) are 1-3.