Updated: April 17th, 2012 9:18pm
Liriano ineffective once again as Twins fall to CC Sabathia, Yankees

Liriano ineffective once again as Twins fall to CC Sabathia, Yankees

by The Associated Press
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NEW YORK - CC Sabathia shook off early trouble to get a rare April win for the Yankees and backup catcher Chris Stewart hit a go-ahead, two-run single and had three RBIs for the first time in his career to lead New York over the Minnesota Twins 8-3 Tuesday night.

Francisco Liriano (0-2) had his third straight poor outing, allowing five runs, seven hits and four walks in 2 1-3 innings. Liriano, who has not won since beating the Yankees on Aug. 20, has an 11.91 ERA.

Sabathia (1-0) allowed three runs and four hits in 7 1-3 innings with seven strikeouts and one walk. After falling behind 3-1 in the third, he didn't allow a hit and retired 13 in a row during one stretch.

In going 19-8 last year, Sabathia didn't get his first win until his fifth start. He is just 7-4 in March and April since joining the Yankees in 2009 and 18-14 through April in his career.

The skinny

Stewart, acquired from San Francisco just before opening day, put the Yankees ahead 4-3 when he chased Liriano with a two-run single in the four-run third. He added an RBI single in the seventh against Jeff Gray for his most productive day at the plate in six big league seasons.

Ron Gardenhire wasn't in the dugout to see it. The Twins manager was ejected for the 61st time in his career when he came out to argue with Greg Gibson after Denard Span got tossed in the third inning after exchanging words following a called strike.

Minnesota dropped to 8-34 at Yankee Stadium, including the playoffs, since Gardenhire became manager in 2002.

A night after winning the opener of the four-game series, the Twins got off to a promising start when Josh Willingham homered into Monument Park leading off the second. He became the first Minnesota player to start the season with an 11-game hitting streak since Jacque Jones in 2002.

Brett Gardner, who reached base four times with two hits and two walks, tied the score with an RBI double in the second. Liriano escaped a bases-loaded jam by retiring Robinson Cano on a groundout.

Turning point

Minnesota took a 3-1 lead after the ejections. Clete Thomas hit for Span and, after Sabathia was called for a balk, doubled in the go-ahead run. Jamey Carroll followed with an RBI single.

Eduardo Nunez drove in a run with an infield single in the bottom half, Stewart put the Yankees ahead and Derek Jeter hit a sacrifice fly to the right-field warning track off Matt Maloney. Andruw Jones homered in the fourth, and Jeter had an RBI single in the fifth that made it 7-3.

Numbers game

3: Career ejections for Span

Health report

RHP Scott Baker underwent surgery in New York on Tuesday to repair his right flexor pronator muscle, but he wound up undergoing unscheduled Tommy John surgery as well.

The Twins are hoping medicine and some rest will bring Glen Perkins' left arm back to near full strength by the end of the week. He could rejoin the team for the last part of the four-game series against the Yankees.

On deck

Wednesday: @ Yankees, 6:05 p.m. RHP Jason Marquis (0-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Hiroki Kuroda (1-1, 2.63)
Thursday: @ Yankees, 6:05 p.m. RHP Anthony Swarzak (0-2, 3.75) vs. Phil Hughes (0-2, 9.00)

© The Associated Press