DAVE CAMPBELL | AP Sports Writer
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — C.C. Sabathia struck out 10 batters over eight innings for New York to help the Yankees stretch their AL East lead to two games over Baltimore by beating the Minnesota Twins 8-2 on Wednesday.
The Orioles hosted Toronto later Wednesday. The Yankees visit the Blue Jays for four games starting Thursday. Baltimore, after an off day, plays Boston at home this weekend.
Sabathia (14-6) threw 89 of his 118 pitches for strikes, including three straight to Twins All-Star Joe Mauer for the second of his three strikeouts in the fourth inning. Mauer, who began the day three points in the batting race behind Detroit's Triple Crown chaser Miguel Cabrera with a .326 average, went 0 for 4.
Robinson Cano hit a two-run double and Curtis Granderson added a two-run triple during a six-run third inning against Brian Duensing (4-11), and Sabathia took care of the rest. The burly lefty gave up six hits, two runs and one walk.
Sabathia actually won for the first time in six starts. He threw eight scoreless innings in his last start against Oakland but got a no-decision when the Yankees won in the 10th.
Matt Carson and Pedro Florimon had RBI singles, but that was about the only solid contact Sabathia allowed.
Chris Dickerson also hit a two-run homer for New York.
The Yankees, who lost to the Twins on Tuesday night, played without third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who has a bruised left foot. Derek Jeter's 19-game hitting streak ended after he walked and scored in the third but finished 0 for 4.
New York enjoyed a tension-free afternoon while winning for the 12th time in their last 16 games. Even the bad plays turned out all right.
Granderson was picked off first base in the second inning, but he scored on a wild pitch in the third.
Eric Chavez, thinking there were two outs instead of one in the fifth inning, casually fielded a grounder at third and stepped on the base for the force as he jogged toward the dugout before stopping and realizing his mistake. Sabathia shouted assurance to Chavez, whose embarrassed "oops" expression was frozen on the jumbo video screen above left-center field to the crowd's amusement.
But after a passed ball by Chris Stewart put runners at second and third and threatened to exploit Chavez's blunder, Sabathia calmly retired Denard Span on a groundout to first to keep the lead at 6-1.
After a leadoff double by Raul Ibanez in the sixth, Dickerson circled the bases with his drive off Anthony Swarzak, who was the second long reliever called on by the Twins.
Starter Samuel Deduno struck out two without a hit or a run despite two walks. After the second one, though, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and assistant athletic trainer Dave Pruemer came to the mound for a long talk with the right-hander with two outs in the second inning. The diagnosis was irritation in his left eye, and Deduno was removed for Duensing.
He put seven straight runners on, including two walks, before finishing the inning. Duensing, who started a postseason game against the Yankees in 2009 and 2010, let his ERA rise from 4.68 to 5.15.
NOTES: RH Ivan Nova (12-7, 4.94 ERA) pitches for the Yankees on Thursday against RH Brandon Morrow (8-7, 3.28 ERA) of the Blue Jays. The Twins are off on Thursday before hosting Detroit this weekend. They'll send LH Scott Diamond (12-8, 3.64 ERA) to the mound on Friday, opposite RH Max Scherzer (16-7, 3.82 ERA) of the Tigers. ... The Yankees have homered in each of their last 12 games against the Twins, totaling 25 in that span. ... Chris Herrmann got his first major league hit for the Twins in the ninth, an infield single.