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Updated: September 25th, 2012 10:08pm
Denard Span's message to Adam Jones comes through in win over Yankees

Denard Span's message to Adam Jones comes through in win over Yankees

by Phil Mackey
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins came from behind to beat the New York Yankees 5-4, and Joe Mauer closed the gap on Miguel Cabrera for the American League batting title.

The skinny

Earlier in the day, Denard Span told Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones via Twitter, "we trying to help y'all out man."

Span came through on his message.

His two-out, full-count, two-run double off Yankees lefty Boone Logan helped turn a two-run deficit into a two-run lead for the Twins in the bottom of the seventh inning. Beating the Yankees also kept the Orioles -- who lost to the Toronto Blue Jays -- within 1.5 games of first place in the American League East.

"It's always good to beat the Yankees no matter what time of year it is, or if it's spring training," Span said. "I used to love beating them even in A-ball. Yeah, it's always fun to beat those guys. ...

"I'm going to tweet (Jones) and see what he says. I saw they lost tonight, and we were able to get a win to kind of help them out a little bit. So we'll see. We'll see. If we can beat CC tomorrow, maybe I'll text him and see if he'll buy me dinner next spring training."

Phil Hughes, searching for his 17th win of the season, coasted through a solid outing until running into trouble in the seventh. He wound up being charged with four earned runs on six hits and a walk while striking out four in 6 2/3 innings.

Twins right-hander Esmerling Vasquez held a powerful Yankees lineup in check for six innings, allowing only two runs -- both on a Nick Swisher two-run blast in the fourth inning -- on seven hits and a walk while striking out five.

After performing extremely well in a handful of starts for Triple-A Rochester, Vasquez mostly struggled with command and high pitch counts in his first four outings for the Twins. Vasquez walked 15 while striking out only eight in 20 innings over that stretch, but he looked much more comfortable and controlled on Tuesday.

"The biggest thing tonight was he commanded the strike zone with all of his pitches, he spun it, he used his changeup and he used them all," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "His fastball, you saw some high fastballs jumping out there. That was because the other pitches were effective."

Right-hander Casey Fien relieved Vasquez in the top of the seventh, and he was greeted with a 419-foot solo homer into the bullpen on his first pitch by Russell Martin that put New York up 3-1.

The Twins scored their first run in the fourth inning on a bloop double by Chris Parmelee that plated Mauer from first base.

Mauer finished the night 3-for-4, raising his batting average to .326 on the season -- just a few points behind Detroit's Miguel Cabrera (.329) for the American League lead.

"I'm keeping an eye on it, when you're eating and things like that, TV's on," Mauer said, "but I'm just trying to come out and do what I do and just trying to have good at-bats and play the game hard like I always do. ...

"I'd love to win, but obviously if you start thinking about that, you start trying and that's when it doesn't happen for you."

Glen Perkins gave up a solo homer to Andruw Jones with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but he finished the inning for his 15th save of the season.

Turning point

The bottom of the seventh inning began with Ryan Doumit singling to center off Hughes and Parmelee coaxing a 10-pitch walk. After Trevor Plouffe popped out, Jamey Carroll beat out a groundball to Derek Jeter in the hole at shortstop, loading the bases with one out for Pedro Florimon, who hit his first career home run in Monday night's game.

Hughes' 99th pitch of the night, a fastball up in the zone, sailed past the swinging bat of Florimon for the second out.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi brought in left-hander Logan to face Span, and Logan immediately uncorked a wild pitch to plate Doumit from third base. Parmelee and Carroll moved into scoring position on the play as well.

Span then delivered the two-out, two-run double that put the Twins in front, with Mauer adding an RBI single for insurance.

Numbers game

22: Games with at least three hits for Mauer

84: RBIs for Mauer

2: Potential base stealers gunned down by Mauer

.404: Mauer's batting average with two outs and runners in scoring position

37: Doubles for Span

Health report

RHP Matt Capps (shoulder) pitched a scoreless ninth inning on Monday. The Twins will likely give him a couple days off before inserting him into another game.

OF Josh Willingham (strained shoulder) will sit out until at least Friday.

On deck

Wednesday: vs. Yankees, 12:10 p.m. RHP Samuel Deduno (6-5, 4.54) vs. LHP CC Sabathia (13-6, 3.47)
Thursday: Off day

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd