By DAVE CAMPBELL AP Sports Writer
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Brian Roberts hit three doubles and a triple, and the New York Yankees used their bullpen to hang on for a 6-5 win over the Minnesota Twins on Friday.
David Huff (2-0) struck out three in three perfect innings of relief for the victory after starter Chase Whitley faltered, and Jacoby Ellsbury hit a two-run single in the second to finish off Twins starter Kyle Gibson (7-7).
Brian Dozier led off the first with his 16th homer and Chris Colabello went deep the next inning in his first at-bat since May 23, but the Twins lost for the ninth time in 11 games. David Robertson notched his 20th save in the ninth after a two-out double by Kurt Suzuki.
Dellin Betances dodged trouble in the eighth inning after Colabello cut the lead to one with an RBI groundout. First baseman Mark Teixeira made a diving stop to his right on Eduardo Escobar’s sharp grounder, recovering in time to throw to Betances for the third out with a runner on third.
This Independence Day game, pitting the Yankees and Twins at Target Field for the second straight year, was preceded by a ceremony for the 75th anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s moving farewell address, shortly after he was diagnosed with the degenerative neurological disease that later took his name. Players from both teams read prerecorded portions of the speech.
The matchup on the mound between Whitley and Gibson quickly transitioned to Huff against Sam Deduno after both teams went to the bullpen early on.
The Yankees brought a scuffling lineup and a five-game losing streak with them on this road trip, but they have revived their offense against the Twins and their two best starters, Phil Hughes and Gibson.
Gibson brought the American League’s best home-ballpark ERA among qualified pitchers at 1.54, but the Yankees tagged him for six runs over two innings. One was unearned, due to a passed ball by Suzuki that let Teixeira move up and later score on Carlos Beltran’s sacrifice fly in the first, but almost every ball was hit hard.
Brett Gardner led off the game with a triple, Roberts drove him in with a double and Gibson was on his way to that kind of day. He gave up six hits and one walk, without any strikeouts. Teixeira had an RBI double, Brendan Ryan added a sacrifice fly and Gibson left with a 6-1 deficit.
Whitley wasn’t any better. He gave up eight hits, four runs and one walk in three innings with four strikeouts.
Oswaldo Arcia had an RBI triple and scored on Trevor Plouffe’s single to pull the Twins within two before Huff took charge. He was reacquired last month in a trade with San Francisco after being sent to the Giants in a cash deal in January.
Deduno pitched 4 2-3 innings of three-hit ball. He struck out four and walked none.
Whitley was unbeaten in his first seven starts, allowing three runs or fewer each time, but the rookie has hit a rough stretch. Over his last three turns, he has allowed a whopping 27 hits in 10 1-3 innings, with 17 runs and six walks.
Gibson has had quite the thrive-or-dive season. Six of his 17 starts have been scoreless appearances, and he’s finished seven innings or more seven times. But this was his fourth turn of three or fewer innings, and he’s allowed at least six runs in each of those starts.
NOTES: The Twins are expecting prized CF prospect Byron Buxton to return to action soon with Class A Fort Myers. He has missed the majority of the season with an injured wrist. “That’ll be a welcome sight for all of us,” general manager Terry Ryan said. … University of Minnesota basketball coach Richard Pitino sat in the first row behind home plate. Having lived in New York as a child when his father coached the Knicks in the NBA, Pitino is a passionate Yankees fan who named his family dog Bernie after former Yankees star Bernie Williams. … The Twins have played 42 of 85 games during the day this season, the most in the majors. … David Phelps (3-4, 4.26 ERA) will pitch for the Yankees Saturday, and Yohan Pino (0-2, 6.32 ERA) will take the mound for the Twins. The Twins will honor retiring Yankees captain Derek Jeter before the game with a farewell gift. Jeter had Friday off to rest. Brendan Ryan played SS instead.
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