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Dave Campbell / Associated Press, Published July 04 2013

Yankees cruise past Twins 9-5 for series sweep

MINNEAPOLIS – After a sharp major league debut for Minnesota, Kyle Gibson faltered in the follow-up.

Vernon Wells drove in three runs, and the New York Yankees pounded the rookie right-hander in a 9-5 victory on Thursday to finish a four-game sweep.

Justin Morneau homered twice for the Twins, one-third of his season total. But Gibson (1-1) gave up 11 hits, a walk, a hit by pitch and eight runs in 5 Zc innings with two strikeouts in his second start.

“I went back and took a look at all the hits that I gave up, and only four of them were actually well-located,” Gibson said. “Coming into this whole experience I knew if I didn’t locate my pitches, I was going to get hurt.”

Travis Hafner had three hits and scored twice and Zoilo Almonte and Alberto Gonzalez also drove in runs for the Yankees, who scored 29 runs over the four games. They didn’t even need their usual super-sized contribution from Robinson Cano, whose streak of six straight multi-hit games ended without reaching base.

“I wouldn’t say I was intimidated out there today. I had the stuff that I had the last time out there. Maybe even better, honestly,” Gibson said.

The Twins fell to 23-71 against the Yankees since the start of 2002, including the postseason.

“They got some big hits when they needed to,” manager Ron Gardenhire said, adding: “I wish we had answers for all that stuff.”

David Phelps (6-5) surrendered Morneau’s first homer and three more runs in the seventh, when he left with one out. RBI singles by Pedro Florimon and Brian Dozier and a sacrifice fly by Joe Mauer helped the Twins catch up in that inning, and Morneau went deep again in the eighth. That wasn’t enough. Phelps gave up eight hits and four runs, but he struck out five without a walk.

The banged-up Yankees brought a five-game losing streak to Target Field, where their woes were quickly forgotten.

The Twins have lost 10 of their last 13 games. Afterward, P.J. Walters was designated for assignment to make room for fellow right-hander Mike Pelfrey, who will rejoin the rotation when he comes off the disabled list on Saturday. That means Gibson is here to stay, for now.

“Every day there’s guys that lose their job here in this game, and hopefully in five days I’ll get another chance and go out there and throw better,” he said.

Gibson’s debut last weekend matched the anticipation of the 2009 first-round draft pick built up in the fan base, a winning performance with six sharp innings and two runs allowed. This time, he was behind 3-0 after just his 17th pitch. The first five batters produced two singles, two doubles and a soaring sacrifice fly by Cano that Oswaldo Arcia caught at the wall in left field. The next batter, Wells, hit a two-run single.

The game, though, was essentially decided in the third inning.

Gibson hit Hafner with a pitch and let him move up on a wild pitch. Then Wells sneaked a low-arc pop-up in the space between Arcia and the infield, just right for Hafner to score, Arcia to miss a sliding catch by a few inches and Wells to get a double. Luis Cruz followed with an RBI single, his first hit for the Yankees, to stretch the lead to 5-0.

“I think the young man has pretty good stuff, in watching his last start. He just made some mistakes,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

New York Minnesota

ab r h bi ab r h bi

ISuzuki cf 5 2 3 2 Dozier 2b 5 0 1 1

Almont lf 5 1 2 1 Mauer c 4 0 1 1

Cano 2b 4 0 0 1 Arcia lf 5 0 0 0

Hafner dh 4 2 3 0 Mornea dh 3 2 2 2

V.Wells rf 4 1 2 3 Plouffe 3b 4 0 1 0

Overay 1b 3 1 0 0 Parmel 1b 3 1 1 0

L.Cruz ss 4 0 2 1 Hicks cf 4 1 2 0

AlGnzlz 3b 4 1 1 1 Thoms rf 4 0 1 0

AuRmn c 4 1 0 0 Flormn ss 3 1 2 1

Doumit ph 1 0 0 0

EEscor ss 0 0 0 0

Totals 37 9 13 9 Totals 36 5 11 5

New York 302 004 000— 9

Minnesota 000 100 310— 5

DP—New York 1, Minnesota 2. LOB—New York 4, Minnesota 7. 2B—I.Suzuki (9), Hafner 2 (7), V.Wells (9), L.Cruz (1). 3B—I.Suzuki (3). HR—Morneau 2 (6). SB—Hicks (6). SF—Cano, Mauer.

IP H R ER BB SO

New York

D.Phelps W,6-5 6Zc 8 4 4 0 5

Chamberlain 0 1 0 0 0 0

Logan Xc 2 1 1 1 0

Kelley H,3 1 0 0 0 0 2

D.Robertson 1 0 0 0 0 1

Minnesota

Gibson L,1-1 5Zc 11 8 8 1 2

Duensing 1Xc 2 1 1 0 2

Roenicke 1 0 0 0 0 1

Burton 1 0 0 0 0 1

Chamberlain pitched to 1 batter in the 7th.

Logan pitched to 3 batters in the 8th.

HBP—by D.Phelps (Morneau), by Gibson (Hafner). WP—Gibson.

T—3:29. A—38,260 (39,021).