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Yankees top Twins, 7-2, as Nathan Eovaldi earns 10th win

Nathan Eovaldi #30 of the New York Yankees

Nathan Eovaldi #30 of the New York Yankees is congratulated by teammates after leaving the mound during the ninth inning of a game against the Minnesota Twins on July 26, 2015 at Target Field in Minneapolis. Credit: Getty Images / Hannah Foslien

MINNEAPOLIS - In explaining the Yankees' home/road split this season, Joe Girardi has said many times, "We're built for our ballpark."

This weekend, they seemed built pretty well for Target Field, too.

Behind a big day by Chase Headley and a top-of-the-rotation-type performance by Nathan Eovaldi, the Yankees beat the Twins, 7-2, in front of 37,391 Sunday to take two of three in the series.

It was the sixth straight series victory for the AL East-leading Yankees (55-42), who lead the second-place Blue Jays by 61/2 games, are a season-high 13 games over .500 and have the second-best record in the American League.

The Yankees, who have won six of seven and are 14-5 in July, start a four-game set against the Rangers Monday night in Arlington, Texas.

"Very good start [to the trip], especially the way it happened, to lose the first game," said Headley, who went 2-for-4, including a homer to tie it at 1 in the fifth and a two-run single in a six-run sixth that made it 7-1. "Good series win for us, and hopefully we can keep it going in Texas."

There was quite a bit of overreaction regarding the Yankees' home vs. road record after Friday night's loss to the Twins (52-46). Much of it overlooked, or ignored, that .500 is typically the goal for any team away from its home ballpark. The Yankees are 25-25 on the road compared with 30-17 at the Stadium.

Eovaldi (10-2, 4.27), armed with a splitter that is improving by the outing, mostly cruised for eight innings-plus in winning his fifth consecutive decision. He was charged with two runs, allowed eight hits and one walk, and struck out five, including three in the first inning.

Eovaldi left after allowing a leadoff double to Miguel Sano in the ninth. Justin Wilson gave up Trevor Plouffe's RBI single, which made it 7-2, and a single by Eddie Rosario.

Girardi summoned Dellin Betances, who quickly recorded three outs to end it.

"I feel like it's the best start I've had all year," said Eovaldi, who has gone eight consecutive starts without allowing a home run. "I had the fastball working on both sides of the plate, was able to get a lot of swings and misses with my split as well, and quick outs."

Girardi said of Eovaldi: "He was almost able to give our bullpen a whole day off, which was really nice."

Brett Gardner led off the game-changing sixth with a single against Kyle Gibson (8-8, 3.48), who allowed six runs and six hits in 51/3 innings. Gibson walked Mark Teixeira, who was 14-for-26 entering the game but went 0-for-4, and Brian McCann to load the bases. Carlos Beltran struck out, but Garrett Jones roped a 1-and-1 fastball to rightfield for an RBI single and a 2-1 lead. Headley then ripped a 1-and-1 changeup to right for a two-run single that ended Gibson's afternoon.

Lefty Ryan O'Rourke replaced him and Didi Gregorius, on his own, dragged a bunt to second, and the sacrifice made it 5-1. Stephen Drew, a target of many Yankees fans' ire all season for his .188 average, then hit his 13th homer, a two-run shot that made it 7-1.

"You get all seven RBI from the bottom four guys of the lineup, that's good," Girardi said. "We've talked about wanting to extend our lineup, and they did a really good job today."

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