MINNEAPOLIS — The New York Yankees turned a rough start to their series in Minnesota into a sixth straight series win.
Nathan Eovaldi pitched impressively into the ninth inning, Chase Headley and Stephen Drew each homered, and the AL East-leading Yankees beat the Twins 7-2 on Sunday.
After being outscored 15-1 in the first 12 innings of the three-game series — including a 10-1 Twins win on Friday night, followed by a 5-0 deficit on Saturday — the Yankees returned the favor by outscoring the Twins 15-2 over the final 15 innings.
"For us to be able to bounce back and get that game last night then obviously come out and win a good game today . a good series win for us," Headley said.
The Twins, meanwhile, were left reeling with a 3-6 record since the All-Star break.
"You get the first game and you get a little greedy," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We let one slip away yesterday, and sometimes those things carry over somewhat. So you take your medicine, you lose the series and you move on."
Against Eovaldi (10-2), the Twins didn't look anything like the team that routed the Yankees 48 hours early. Eovaldi had only five strikeouts, but looked dominant nonetheless, easily topping 90 mph in the later innings and inducing Twins batters into harmless grounders and popups in reaching double-digit wins for the first time.
"He was almost able to give our bullpen a whole day off, which was really nice," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
The right-hander, who hasn't lost a start since June 16 at Miami, allowed eight hits and a walk. He came out to start the ninth but was quickly pulled after giving up a leadoff double to Miguel Sano.
"That was awesome, going back out in the eighth and then going back out for the ninth it shows that he put the faith in me and we'd scored enough runs for him to leave me out there," Eovaldi said. "Frustrating I let that double in the ninth, but it's all right."
Headley had two big hits against Kyle Gibson (8-8) — the first a solo homer in the fifth that made it 1-all, and then a two-run single the next inning that knocked the Twins starter out of the game.
Two batters later, Drew sent a 0-1 slider from reliever Ryan O'Rourke into the right field seats for his 13th homer to cap a six-run sixth.
Gibson allowed six runs and six hits before being pulled after 5 1-3 innings. Torii Hunter had an RBI groundout in the third that scored Aaron Hicks, and Trevor Plouffe added a run-scoring single in the ninth against reliever Justin Wilson.
HEADLEY HEADING IN RIGHT DIRECTION
Headley had his sixth game with at least three RBIs this season, including his second this week. He has hits in 14 of 16 July games, and is batting .344 with 11 RBIs this month. He entered the month batting .229.
"I really didn't feel like I was swinging the bat as bad as it looked or what the numbers said, so when that's happening you've just got to keep going and trust that it's going to work out," Headley said.
Yankees: Alex Rodriguez got a day off after hitting three homers Saturday night. Girardi said he had been planning to give Rodriguez a day off either in Minnesota or Texas. Seeing as how his team will face at least two left-handed starters in Texas, Girardi said he decided to sit Rodriguez for the series finale against the Twins. Earlier, Rodriguez told reporters he was planning to celebrate his 40th birthday on Monday in Texas with family and friends. Asked if he viewed turning 40 years old as a traumatic event, Rodriguez said: "All of that happened for me last year."
Twins: GM Terry Ryan said RHP Ryan Pressly (shoulder) should be able to start throwing soon. "He's healthy now, got no pain and now he can move to the next step, which is picking up a ball. ... It'll be a while for him, but we can at least start the process now."
Yankees: RHP Ivan Nova (2-3) tries for a second-consecutive win after snapping a three-game skid last week against Baltimore, when New York opens a four-game set in Texas. Nova is 2-0 in two career games against the Rangers. LHP Matt Harrison (1-1) starts for Texas.
Twins: have Monday off before a two-game interleague series against Pittsburgh. Mike Pelfrey (5-7) makes his eighth-career start against the Pirates (3-2, 4.33 ERA), who send RHP Charlie Morton (6-4) to the mound.