Sabathia not sharp but 3 HRs bail him out

New York Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia throws during New York Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia throws during the second inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis. (Aug. 18, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

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MINNEAPOLIS -- This time, baseball's replay system worked to perfection.

Less than 24 hours after a botched interpretation of the rules played a role in a one-run loss in Kansas City, the Yankees were the beneficiary of a replay reversal Thursday night in an 8-4 victory over the Twins at Target Field.

"That was big," said CC Sabathia, the primary beneficiary of the call.

It happened 10 pitches into a first inning in which just about every ball the Twins hit was a rocket. Lefthanded-hitting Justin Morneau hit a shot down the rightfield line that initially was ruled a two-run homer by first base umpire Jim Wolf before it was overruled after a video review.

Replays showed the ball to clearly be foul, though Twins manager Ron Gardenhire came out to argue and was promptly ejected. Sabathia then struck out Morneau.

"Huge break," said Mark Teixeira, who hit one of the Yankees' three home runs. "Two runs in the first inning against a good pitcher, that could have given them some momentum. And I'm always of the belief if you give CC a lead, he's going to hold it."

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Teixeira did that with his two-run homer in the third that made it 3-2. It was his 33rd homer of the season.

"It was huge, it would have been a 2-0 game at that point," Sabathia said of the reversal. "I ended giving up a few more runs, so who knows how the night would have turned out."

It turned out as a positive for the Yankees (75-47), who gave Sabathia the kind of support he's accustomed to as they banged out 15 hits, including home runs by Teixeira, Nick Swisher and Andruw Jones, all off starter Brian Duensing (8-12).

Sabathia (17-7) wasn't terribly sharp -- though he did retire 10 straight at one point after a rough second inning -- allowing four runs, three earned, overall in seven innings. He allowed double-digit hits (10) for the third time in his last four starts.

"I had a tough time with my changeup again tonight," Sabathia said.

Swisher's two-run homer in the fifth made it 5-2. Jones followed with a rocket into the third deck in leftfield, one of the longest home runs in the two-year history of this ballpark.

"To tell you the truth, I didn't see where it landed," said Jones, who recently, at the behest of his mother, looked at some old tape of himself. "I just dropped my head down and ran the bases."

Derek Jeter went 2-for-5, improving to 11-for-20 on this trip and 53-for-154 (.344) since returning from the disabled list July 4. Curtis Granderson had three hits.

David Robertson pitched a perfect eighth, running his streak to 26 road appearances this season in which he hasn't allowed a run.

Sabathia was coming off back-to-back losses for the first time since midseason last year, and his early innings were not promising. Two runs scored in the second inning and two more, one unearned because of an Eduardo Nuñez error, came in the seventh.

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Now a lineup that has gone 24-12 without Alex Rodriguez soon will see how it does with him. A-Rod worked on the field before the game, and although he probably won't be activated Friday night, that could come tomorrow night.

"It's going to be nice, it's a big bat we're dropping into our order," Joe Girardi said. "I've talked about, it's like we've made some trades here. We got Chavy [Eric Chavez] back, we got Sori [Rafael Soriano] back and now we're close to getting Alex back. It definitely improves our team."

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