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Yankees hang on for victory against Twins

Minnesota Twins short stop Eduardo Escobar (5) beats the throw to New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira (25) at Target Field. The Yankees beat the Twins 6-5. USA TODAY Sports

Second baseman Brian Roberts had four extra-base hits to lead the Yankees. The nine total bases were a career high for Roberts, a veteran of 1,401 games with the Yankees and Baltimore Orioles.

“A win is always good, and we need wins,” Roberts said. “Anytime you can contribute, it’s always good, whether it’s one hit or four hits or whatever it is.”

Roberts’ first-inning double followed a triple by Yankees teammate Brett Gardner and resulted in the game’s first run. Roberts scored two batters later on a double by Mark Teixeira, who advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on a sacrifice fly, giving the Yankees a 3-0 lead heading to the bottom of the first.

In the second inning, Roberts followed a Gardner walk with a sharp drive that landed just inside the left-field line. It would have been another sure RBI, but the ball bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double. Both runners scored on a single by Jacoby Ellsbury to make it 6-1.

“We’ve said all along that (Roberts’) numbers aren’t indicative of how he’s swung the bat,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “We think he’s hit the ball pretty hard. Today, he didn’t hit them at people.”

All of the damage was done against Twins starter Kyle Gibson, who lasted just two innings, allowing six runs – five of them earned – six hits and a walk. For Gibson, who entered the game with the lowest ERA among American League pitchers at home this season (1.54), it was the rare rough outing at Target Field, where he was 4-1. He took the loss and dropped to 7-7.

“The first inning, you never know, he could find it,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Second inning, he was just misfiring, and every time he made a bad pitch, they made him pay for it. They were all over him.”

Despite the rough outing, Gibson said he felt OK, especially in the second inning. But a two-out walk forced the inning to continue, and the right-hander gave up the ground-rule double to Roberts and the RBI single to Ellsbury.

“I had two outs and given up the solo run. If I’m able to get that out, I probably do go out for a couple more innings,” Gibson said.

Roberts tripled in the fourth and doubled again in the seventh, but neither hit resulted in further damage.

“Hitting is contagious,” Roberts said. “When a couple guys start struggling, everybody starts struggling. A couple guys start hitting, it can start to roll. Hopefully, we’ll start moving in that direction.”

Despite the early hole, Minnesota stayed in the game, getting a leadoff home run from Brian Dozier in the first inning and from Chris Colabello in the second. A triple by right fielder Oswaldo Arcia was sandwiched by two singles in the third to make it a two-run game again.

Yankees starter Chase Whitley didn’t last long enough for the win, going three innings and allowing four earned runs, eight hits and a walk. David Huff pitched three perfect innings of relief for the win, improving to 3-0.