Didi Gregorius hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the seventh inning, CC Sabathia had another strong start and the New York Yankees stopped a four-game losing streak with a 4-1 victory Thursday night over the Minnesota Twins.
Fernando Abad relieved Twins starter Kyle Gibson (0-5) with one out in the seventh to face the left-handed Gregorius, after an infield single and a walk to start the inning. Abad, who had yet to allow a homer all season and took a 0.79 ERA into the game, threw a first-pitch fastball to Gregorius that landed in the right-field seats.
Gregorius is 6 for 11 with seven RBIs in his last three games. Lefties are batting just .125 (4 for 32) against Abad.
Sabathia (5-4) needing 116 pitches to complete six innings, but he struck out seven and retired the last five batters he faced. Aroldis Chapman pitched the ninth for his 12th save in 13 attempts.
Former Yankees shortstop Eduardo Nunez’s two-out RBI single in the fourth gave the Twins the lead, ending the scoreless streak for Sabathia at 15 straight innings. But the burly 35-year-old struck out Robbie Grossman to strand two of the nine runners the Twins left on base against him.
The right-hander’s renaissance has been remarkable this season, despite the down year for the Yanks.
Sabathia hasn’t given up more than three runs in any of his 11 turns. Nor has he surrendered more than two runs in any appearance since April. Over the previous three seasons, spanning 69 starts, Sabathia had a 4.81 ERA.
He took the mound at the perfect time for the Yankees, who last week moved above the .500 mark for the first time since they were 4-3, only to drop four straight decisions, including two in Colorado on Tuesday and Wednesday. They’ve begun a two-week stretch during which they play only the Twins and Rockies, 11 times total with three days off.
Gibson faced the minimum 15 batters through five innings, but the first four Yankees reached to start the sixth, with Jacoby Ellsbury’s RBI single tying the game. Carlos Beltran grounded into a double play to end that inning, but more trouble loomed for Gibson in the seventh.
This was only the second time in six starts this season that Gibson, who missed nearly two months with a shoulder problem, pitched into the seventh.