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Yankees crush Twins

Bronx, NY (Sports Network) - Sidney Ponson was convincing on the mound as the New York Yankees exploded for 16 hits, en route to crushing the Minnesota Twins, 12-4, in the opener of a three-game set from Yankee Stadium.

Ponson (6-1) tossed 5 2/3 innings and gave up just three runs on nine hits, as the righty moved to 7-0 in nine career home starts against the Twins. Yankees' starters have now surrendered a stingy three earned runs or less in 10 of their last 11 games.

"I wanted to go deep in the game," Ponson said. "The deeper I go, the easier it is on the bullpen."

Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano both hit solo homers and finished with two RBI for the Yankees, who have won four in a row overall and eight straight in the Bronx to move a season-high nine games over .500. Alex Rodriguez chipped in a two-run shot and finished with three RBI in the win. Johnny Damon, activated from the DL prior to the game, went 1-for-4 with a double, scored and drove in a run.

Nick Blackburn (7-6) was roughed up for six runs -- three earned -- on seven hits in 1 2/3 innings to take the loss.

"I just couldn't make pitches when I needed to," Blackburn said. "Warming up I felt fine, didn't feel rusty, I just couldn't make pitches when I needed to."

Denard Span went 3-for-4 and missed the cycle by a home run for Minnesota, which has dropped two straight. Alexi Casilla had two RBI while Carlos Gomez and Jason Kubel both drove in one run.

The Yankees got on the board, 2-0, in the first inning. Bobby Abreu clubbed a two-out single up the middle and Rodriguez followed by depositing a Blackburn fastball into the New York bullpen beyond the wall in left-center.

Minnesota answered in the second stanza. Ponson loaded the bases by hitting Delmon Young and giving up singles to Brian Buscher and Brendan Harris, but Span was caught looking at the third strike for the first out. Gomez then hit a grounder to Rodriguez, which scored a run as the third baseman's only play was the force at third.

Casilla then singled to Abreu in right, who launched a throw that appeared to reach Jose Molina at home in time. However, home plate umpire Mike Everitt called Harris safe and it was a 2-2 game.

NY took a 6-2 lead in the second inning. The bases were loaded with one out after consecutive singles from Melky Cabrera, Molina and Brett Gardner. Damon then hit a grounder to Casilla, who botched the throw, scoring a run and rendering all runners safe. Jeter followed with an RBI single and Abreu grounded into a run-scoring force out, which left runners on the corners. Rodriguez kept it going with an RBI single which chased Blackburn in favor of Boof Bonser.

The Yankees ballooned their lead to 8-2 in the third. Cano launched the second pitch of the inning into the upper deck in right field for the first score. Cabrera then followed with a single, moved to second as Bonser threw the ball away on a pickoff attempt, landed on third as Molina grounded out and came around when Damon hit a ground-rule double to left field.

Casilla made it a five-run game as he led off the top of the fifth with a single, moved to second on Joe Mauer's single, took third as Justin Morneau grounded into a double play and came around when Kubel singled up the middle.

Jeter swung at the first pitch he saw in the sixth inning and it landed amongst the bleacher-creatures in right field. Abreu followed with a single before Craig Breslow was called on in relief.

Abreu moved to second on a balk and third on a wild pitch before Rodriguez walked. Breslow then uncorked another wild pitch, scoring Abreu and moving Rodriguez to second. Jason Giambi then struck out, but Cano drove an RBI single to left-center, making it an 11-3 game.

NY tacked on a 12th run in the eighth off Matt Guerrier. The bases were loaded as Justin Christian led off with a walk, Wilson Betemit singled and Richie Sexson earned a free pass. Cano then grounded into a run-scoring double play.

The Twins added a run in the ninth off LaTroy Hawkins. Span led off with a double, moved to third on Gomez's groundout and crossed home when Casilla grounded out.

Game Notes

Prior to Monday's contest, the Yankees placed catcher Jorge Posada on the 15- day disabled list with pain in his right shoulder. The club also announced outfielder Hideki Matsui will not go for surgery and try to rehab his sore left knee...The Twins have dropped six straight series at Yankee Stadium. The club's last series win in the Bronx came on May 8-10 of 2001...Despite the loss, the Twins have still won 21 of their last 29 games.

07/21 23:24:53 ET