Sabathia bounces back from bad turn to stymie Twins as Yanks hammer Baker

MINNEAPOLIS -- CC Sabathia dominated the Minnesota Twins for most of his 7 1/2 seasons in Cleveland. His move to the Bronx hasn't changed a thing.

Sabathia allowed one run on three hits in seven innings and the New York Yankees roughed up Minnesota starter Scott Baker in a 10-2 victory over the Twins on Tuesday night.

Sabathia (8-5) showed that a poor start last week was just a hiccup and the bottom third of the Yankees order had seven hits and six RBIs in New York's sixth straight road victory. The big lefty is 6-1 with 1.70 ERA in his last seven starts in the Metrodome.

"I just know the lineup," Sabathia said. "I know what these guys are trying to do. I've faced them a bunch."

It's clear that it doesn't work both ways.

After giving up a season high 10 hits and six runs in a loss to Seattle in his last start, Sabathia steamrolled through the heart of the Twins lineup.

The big left-hander held All-Stars Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau hitless in six combined at-bats. He allowed a solo homer to Michael Cuddyer in the second inning, but that was all the Twins could muster.

"He's coming right at you," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "But he locates well, too."

Baker (6-7) was 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in his only two previous starts against the Yankees. But he gave up five runs on nine hits with two walks and four strikeouts in three innings, his shortest outing of the season.

"All goes with starting pitching," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He didn't make any adjustments out there tonight and you have to do that. He didn't throw it over. He didn't do too much. He's got to be better than that and he knows that."

Mark Teixeira had four hits and Brett Gardner added three and two RBIs for the Yankees, who have beaten the Twins 16 times in their last 22 meetings. They remained one game back of the Red Sox in the AL East after Boston beat Oakland 5-2.

"He pitched like his normal self tonight," Gardner said of Sabathia. "He's one of those guys where you almost expect him to do that every time out."

When Sabathia faces Minnesota, he practically does.

Minnesota's only other highlight of the night came in the fourth inning when center fielder Carlos Gomez leaped high above the fence to turn what would have been a grand slam by Alex Rodriguez into a long sacrifice fly.

That was about all that went wrong for the Yankees, and they even managed to score a run out of that. The surging Yankees didn't hit Baker particularly hard, but they did hit him often enough to drive his pitch count through the Metrodome's roof early.

Teixeira had two broken-bat bloopers in the first two innings, the second scoring Gardner to give New York a 3-0 lead. That score held through three innings, but Baker's pitch count already was at 75 when he took the mound to start the fourth inning.

He never recorded an out in the frame. Reliever Brian Duensing didn't fare any better, and the Yankees broke the game open with a five-run sixth. Duensing walked four and gave up four runs in 2 2/3 innings.

"Basically just wasn't very sharp today," Baker said. "Against a good hitting team like that, they continue to make you work and work and work."

This is the first time these two teams have played since a wild four-game set at Yankee Stadium in May. The Yankees rallied to win three straight games in their final at-bat and swept the Twins in a series that many on the team credit for getting them out of their early season malaise.

New York limped into that series at 17-17, but is 32-17 since that four-game sweep.

Game notes
Mauer's three plate appearances leave him two shy of the necessary number to qualify for the AL leader board in batting average. He is hitting .384. ... Yankees C Francisco Cervelli had two hits and two RBIs. Manager Joe Girardi said he would likely be sent down on Wednesday to make room for Jose Molina. ... Twins SS Brendan Harris snapped an 0-for-16 slump with an RBI single off Brett Tomko in the eighth inning.