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Nathan Eovaldi helps New York Yankees beat Minnesota Twins

By Tyler Mason, The Sports Xchange

MINNEAPOLIS -- New York Yankees right-hander Nathan Eovaldi has not needed much run support in his last handful of starts. His offense gave him plenty Sunday anyway.

A six-run sixth inning helped lift the Yankees to a 7-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins as New York took two of three games in the weekend series at Target Field.

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The seven runs from the Yankees offense were plenty for the 25-year-old Eovaldi, who went eight innings and allowed two runs. Sunday's outing came after a stretch of seven consecutive starts in which he hadn't gone deeper than six innings.

"He's very strong. He doesn't lose (velocity) as the game goes on. He stays strong," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Eovaldi. "It's just a maturation process for him, and he's doing it right in front of us."

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Third baseman Chase Headley drove in two runs in the six-run sixth inning and second baseman Stephen Drew added a two-run homer as the Yankees won their second straight game after losing the series opener.

The Twins outscored the Yankees 15-1 through the first 12 innings of the series. New York went on to outscore Minnesota 15-2 the remainder of the three-game set, including Saturday's 8-5 win.

Eovaldi notched his 10th win of the season after allowing two runs on eight hits in eight-plus innings. Eovaldi is unbeaten in his last seven starts, going 5-0 during that stretch. He faced one batter in the ninth before giving way to reliever Justin Wilson.

The eight innings for Eovaldi matched a career high and was the deepest he pitched into a game this season. He was efficient with his pitch count Sunday and was lifted after his 100th pitch.

"I feel like it's the best start I've had all year," Eovaldi said after the win. "I had the fastball working on both sides of the plate. I was able to get a lot of swings and misses with my split as well and quick outs."

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Twins starter Kyle Gibson gave up six earned runs for his second straight outing as he dropped to 8-8 with a 3.48 ERA. He has lost two in a row after winning four consecutive starts.

Staked to a 1-0 lead through four innings, Gibson gave a run back in the top of the fifth when Headley hit a leadoff homer to right field to tie the game at 1-1.

Gibson ran into more trouble in the sixth and recorded just one out in the inning before getting the hook from manager Paul Molitor. Left fielder Brett Gardner led off the inning with a single, and Gibson walked DH Mark Teixeira and catcher Brian McCann on a total of nine pitches to load the bases.

After striking out right fielder Carlos Beltran for the first out, Gibson couldn't escape the jam. He gave up an RBI single to first baseman Garrett Jones as the Yankees took a 2-1 lead. Headley struck again one batter later as his base hit to right scored Teixeira and McCann and broke the game open for a 4-1 New York advantage.

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"I felt like I was able to put myself in a situation where I could make one pitch and get out of it," Gibson said. "I just never really made that pitch."

That ended Gibson's day after 94 pitchers. Left-hander Ryan O'Rourke came in to face shortstop Didi Gregorius, whose sacrifice fly added a run. One batter later, Drew hit a two-run homer to right off O'Rourke for a 7-1 Yankees lead.

Minnesota got on the board in the third inning when right fielder Torii Hunter's groundout to third base scored center fielder Aaron Hicks. Eovaldi settled down after that and faced the minimum in the fourth through sixth innings.

Third baseman Trevor Plouffe drove in a run in the bottom of the ninth when his single scored DH Miguel Sano from second base. Plouffe now has 55 RBIs on the year, tied for the Twins lead.

After beating the Yankees in convincing fashion on Friday, the Twins looked poised to take the second game of the series Saturday before a late-game collapse. Now Minnesota is on the wrong end of another series loss against New York, a team that has had the Twins' number in recent years.

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"We've gotten beat by the Angels. We've gotten beat by the Rays. What do the Yankees have to do with anything?" Hunter said of the team's struggles with the Yankees. "I don't remember. I don't know what you're talking about. I've got amnesia."

NOTES: One day after hitting three home runs, Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez was not in New York's lineup for Sunday's series finale. Manager Joe Girardi said it was simply a scheduled day off for Rodriguez, who turns 40 on Tuesday. ... Girardi said the team still has not determined Tuesday's starter against the Texas Rangers. Girardi noted the team has options both on the 25-man roster and at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. ... Twins SS Danny Santana was out of the lineup Sunday, with Eduardo Nunez playing shortstop. Manager Paul Molitor said he liked the matchup of Nunez against Yankees RHP Nathan Eovaldi. ... Molitor was not in Cooperstown, N.Y., this weekend for the induction ceremonies. It's just the second time since he was inducted in 2004 that he hasn't made the trip for the induction weekend. ... Minnesota has an off-day on Monday before beginning a two-game series Tuesday at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates. ... New York continues its road trip Monday by starting a four-game series against Texas in Arlington.

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