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Updated: April 16th, 2012 9:33pm
Morneau homers in 1B debut, Pavano holds Yankees in check as Twins win

Morneau homers in 1B debut, Pavano holds Yankees in check as Twins win

by The Associated Press
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NEW YORK-Carl Pavano quieted an unfriendly Yankee Stadium crowd with seven solid innings, Justin Morneau played in the field for the first time this season and hit a long homer, and the Minnesota Twins earned a rare victory in New York, 7-3 on Monday night.

Joe Mauer had three hits, including two doubles, and every position player had a hit in a tweaked Minnesota lineup. Josh Willingham batted fourth for the first time this season and was one of seven Twins to drive in a run.

Minnesota won for just the sixth time in 34 regular-season games in the Bronx since Ron Gardenhire took over as manager in 2002.

The skinny

In just his second outing in New York since an injury-wrecked four years with the Yankees ended after the 2008 season, Pavano (1-1) gave up three runs and seven hits. He struck out six and walked one.

Yankees fans showed they can hold a grudge. They were relentless with their boos when Pavano was introduced before the game. After a rocky first, in which he gave up back-to-back homers to Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson to start the inning, Pavano mostly hushed the Yankees' bats.

Gardenhire tried generating some offense by splitting his lefty-hitting M&M boys in the lineup for the first time since 2008, according to STATS LLC. Mauer hit third as the designated hitter and Morneau moved down to fifth and played first base. Morneau had been the DH in the Twins first nine games as he is being brought back slowly from injuries, including a concussion that limited him to 69 games last year.

The adjustment worked right off the bat with Willingham driving in Mauer with a single in the first. In fact, the Twins had five straight hits after Freddy Garcia (0-1) struck out Denard Span looking to start the game.

Mauer doubled after Jamey Carroll singled and was caught stealing. Morneau followed Willingham with a single and Ryan Doumit had an RBI hit to make it 2-0.

But Pavano gave it right back.

Jeter learned earlier Monday that he was being given an honorary doctorate from Siena, a college in Loudonville, N.Y., then homered-his third-leading off. Granderson followed Jeter's drive with another into the right-field seats for the Yankees' first back-to-back homers to start a game since September 2005, when Jeter and Robinson Cano did it.

Jeter didn't hit his third home run last year until July 9, when he connected for his 3,000th hit.

Alex Rodriguez then beat out an infield hit and advanced to second on third baseman Danny Valencia's errant throw. He scored on Mark Teixeira's single for a 3-2 lead.

Turning point

Alexi Casilla doubled with one out in the fifth to snap a string of 11 straight outs by the Twins that started after the five hits in a row. Carroll followed with a run-scoring single and Mauer an RBI double to give Minnesota the lead.

Morneau led off the sixth with a drive into the Yankees bullpen for a 5-3 lead. An out later, Garcia was lifted to boos.

While he had better control in this start after a five wild-pitch performance in his first outing, Garcia gave up nine hits and five runs. He struck out five without walking a batter.

With Andy Pettitte working his way back from retirement and Michael Pineda rehabbing his shoulder, Garcia could be losing his grip on a rotation spot.

Numbers game

21-63: Gardenhire's record against the Yankees.

1: Spectacular catch by Granderson, who raced into the left-center field gap to make a sensational grab on a drive by Morneau.

26: Leadoff home runs for Jeter.

Health report

LHP Glen Perkins had an MRI exam that showed some tenderness in his radial nerve. He will remain back in Minnesota for two more days, but the team is hopeful he can resume throwing soon.

On deck

Tuesday: @ Yankees, 6:05 p.m. LHP Francisco Liriano (0-1, 10.00) vs. LHP CC Sabathia (0-0, 6.75)
Wednesday: @ Yankees, 6:05 p.m. RHP Jason Marquis (0-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Hiroki Kuroda (1-1, 2.63)

© The Associated Press