MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Depleted by injuries to their biggest stars, the New York Yankees were sagging in the relentless AL East race when they arrived in Minnesota.
Four games against their longtime punching bag later, the Yankees have some momentum back.
Vernon Wells drove in three runs and the Yankees pounded rookie Kyle Gibson and the Twins 9-5 on Thursday to finish the sweep, their first series victory in almost four weeks.
"It's a new month, and hopefully this is a time that we're going to turn this around," Ichiro Suzuki said through his interpreter after tallying three hits, including a two-run triple.
Travis Hafner had three hits and scored twice, and Zoilo Almonte and Alberto Gonzalez also drove in runs for the Yankees, who scored 29 runs over the four games.
They didn't even need their usual super-sized contribution from Robinson Cano, whose streak of six straight multihit games ended without reaching base. He still batted .500 on this seven-game road trip with 11 RBIs.
"Everyone else seemed to pick it up around him today," manager Joe Girardi said.
The Yankees stayed six games behind first-place Boston in the division.
Since the start of 2002, including the postseason, they're 71-23 against Minnesota.
"They've always had great players over there since I became manager here," the Twins' Ron Gardenhire said. "Great players do good things."
Gibson's debut last weekend matched the anticipation of the 2009 first-round draft pick built up in the fan base, a winning performance with six sharp innings and two runs allowed.
This time, he was behind 3-0 after just his 17th pitch.
The first five batters produced two singles, two doubles and a soaring sacrifice fly by Cano that Oswaldo Arcia caught at the wall in left field. The next batter, Wells, hit a two-run single.
The game, though, was essentially decided in the third inning.
Gibson hit Hafner with a pitch and let him move up on a wild pitch. Then Wells sneaked a low-arc pop-up in the space between Arcia and the infield, just enough for Hafner to score, Arcia to miss a sliding catch by a few inches and Wells to get a double. Luis Cruz followed with an RBI single, his first hit for the Yankees, to stretch the lead to 5-0.
The Twins have lost 10 of their last 13 games.