Bronx, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Brian McCann's tie-breaking RBI double highlighted a two-run eighth inning that lifted the New York Yankees to a 3-1 win over the Minnesota Twins.
McCann's liner off Brian Duensing (1-2) brought in Jacoby Ellsbury with the go-ahead run and rewarded Masahiro Tanaka for an outstanding eight-inning stint in which the new Yankee ace permitted just one unearned run.
Tanaka (8-1) yielded just four singles and a pair of walks while racking up nine strikeouts before giving way to David Robertson, who struck out the side in the ninth to polish off his 12th save of the season.
"He's tough," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Tanaka. "Guys were saying the ball was just disappearing and his splitter was unbelievable. He has all the pitches."
Both McCann and Kelly Johnson finished 2-for-4 with an RBI. Yangervis Solarte collected three hits, including a solo home run, to help New York bounce back from Friday's 6-1 defeat in the opener of this three-game set.
Kevin Correia tossed six innings of one-run ball in a no-decision for Minnesota, with Josh Willingham knocking in the Twins' lone run with a first- inning single.
Ellsbury singled against Duensing with one out in the bottom of the eighth and was soon on third following a stolen base combined with Minnesota catcher Josmil Pinto's wild throw into center field. Brian Roberts then drew a walk before McCann drove an inside pitch down the right-field line to break the 1-1 deadlock.
After a 34-minute rain delay temporarily halted play in the inning, Johnson gave the Yankees some insurance with a single that got through the infield to plate Roberts.
The Twins got to Tanaka for an early run, in large part due to an error by Johnson on Brian Dozier's game-opening grounder. After a wild pitch put Dozier into scoring position, Willingham sent him home with a two-out single to give Minnesota a quick 1-0 lead.
Tanaka was in control from that point on, holding the Twins without a hit after the fifth inning and finishing his strong outing by setting down eight consecutive hitters.
"He commands both sides of the plate and he's got four or five pitches he can attack you with," said McCann. "I can't say enough about him."
The Yankees, on the other hand, recorded nine hits off Correia, though the veteran righty worked out of several jams to keep the damage low.
He struck out Mark Teixeira and got McCann to bounce into a double play to escape a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the bottom of the first, then induced an inning-ending double-play grounder from Brendan Ryan with two men on in the second.
"It was a good start going against one of the best pitchers in the league," said Correia. "Both [teams] had a lot of opportunities to score. [Tanaka and I] both pitched out of some jams."
New York finally got on the board in the fourth, when Solarte hammered a 3-1 pitch into the bleachers in right center to tie the game at 1-1.
The Yankees had a chance to move ahead in the sixth after McCann doubled and Solarte singled with two out, but Solarte was gunned down trying to take second on the relay throw home to thwart the threat.