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Updated: April 19th, 2012 9:40pm
Anthony Swarzak, Twins unable to hold 4-run lead in loss to Yankees

Anthony Swarzak, Twins unable to hold 4-run lead in loss to Yankees

by The Associated Press
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NEW YORK -- Curtis Granderson hit three home runs in the first four innings and matched a career high with five hits, leading the New York Yankees to a 7-6 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night.

Granderson homered in each of his first three at-bats, driving in four runs, and helped Phil Hughes overcome a four-run first to secure his first victory of the season.

Mark Teixeira hit his first home run of the year and the Yankees earned a split of the four-game series. The Twins have not won a series in New York since 2001, a year before Ron Gardenhire took over as their manager.

The skinny

Granderson got two chances to tie the major league record of four homers in a game. In the sixth, he lined a single to right field. In the eighth, with much of the remaining crowd standing, he beat out a dribbler down the first base line. He was then caught stealing.

Granderson homered to right-center in the first inning and hit a soaring, two-run shot into the second deck in right field in the second, both off Anthony Swarzak (0-3).

In the fourth, Granderson hit a line drive to the short right field porch against Jeff Gray and came out of the dugout for a curtain call. Granderson is the first player to hit three homers in a big-league game this year.

The three-homer game was the first for a Yankees player since Alex Rodriguez hit three at Kansas City on Aug. 14, 2010. Granderson has 13 career multihomer games. This was his first with more than two home runs.

The Yankees have had 28 three-homer games but only one of four homers, by Lou Gehrig in 1932.

Mariano Rivera, the fifth Yankees pitcher, worked a perfect ninth for his third save of the season and record 606th of his career. 

Fighting to keep his spot in the rotation with Andy Pettitte and Michael Pineda getting closer to being ready to join the team, Hughes (1-2) gave up six runs and six hits -- two earned -- in 5 1/3 innings.

Turning point

For the third time in this series, the Yankees fell behind in the first. Ryan Doumit hit a two-run single to left that beat the shift. The Twins had loaded the bases on a single, a throwing error by second baseman Eduardo Nunez and a walk.

Danny Valencia then hit a long double to left-center on an 0-2 pitch to make it 4-0.

Teixeira also homered in the first, a two-run shot to almost the same spot near the Yankees bullpen in right-center that Granderson's drive landed. A notoriously slow starter, Teixeira homered in his 46th at-bat this season.

Derek Jeter had an RBI single in the second for his 3,110th hit, tying him with childhood idol Dave Winfield for 18th on the career list.

Swarzak had pitched better than his record suggested, receiving only one run of support in each of his first two starts, but he struggled from the start in this one. He gave up six runs and eight hits in 2 2/3 innings.

Twins shortstop Jamey Carroll made a diving stab of Jeter's grounder in the first and an over-the-shoulder, diving catch on Robinson Cano's pop to shallow left field in the second.

Numbers game

19: Combined runs scored by the Twins and Yankees in the first inning of this series.

12: Number of major league players who have hit three home runs in the first four innings of a game, according to STATS LLC and the SABR Home Run Log. Alfonso Soriano was the last to do it for the Chicago Cubs on June 8, 2007, against Atlanta.

Health report

LHP Glen Perkins pitched in Thursday's game after arriving in town on Wednesday. Perkins was treated in the Twin Cities for inflammation around his radial nerve after the Twins' weekend series against the Texas Rangers.

On deck

Friday: @ Tampa Bay, 6:10 p.m. RHP Liam Hendriks (0-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. LHP Matt Moore (0-1, 5.54)

© The Associated Press

© The Associated Press