A-Rod's grand slam lifts Yanks, stuns Twins

A-Rod's grand slam lifts Yanks, stuns Twins

NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez has hit more grand slams than anyone in the history of the game, and the slugger extended that record with his 25th career grand slam on Tuesday, helping to lift the Yankees to an 8-4 victory over the Twins at Yankee Stadium.

Rodriguez's seventh-inning shot came off reliever J.R. Graham, who inherited a bases-loaded, one-out jam from Ryan O'Rourke. Rodriguez received a curtain call from the Stadium crowd after circling the bases, celebrating his first homer in 72 at-bats and his first grand slam in nearly two years.

"I certainly have felt a lot more comfortable in those situations, especially this year," Rodriguez said. "I've been through a lot, you know? I've been in those situations many, many times. The formula never changes. You want to get a good pitch to hit and put a good swing on it."

Miguel Sano homered for the second consecutive game, highlighting the Twins' output against CC Sabathia, who held Minnesota hitless into the fifth but permitted four runs over 6 2/3 innings. Nick Rumbelow picked up his first Major League victory in relief. Twins starter Mike Pelfrey worked 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball in a no-decision.

Rumbelow fans Hicks

Greg Bird, the Yankees' No. 4 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, logged his first Major League RBI with a fourth-inning single. Chase Headley added a two-run double and Jacoby Ellsbury knocked in a run off Graham in the eighth as the Yankees maintained a one-game lead over the Blue Jays in the American League East.

Bird's RBI single

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
A-Rod delivers: Rodriguez has been trying to ride the ups and downs -- "like the stock market," he said -- as he works through the dog days of August, and he broke out of a 1-for-27 skid in a loud way. Rodriguez's go-ahead blast landed in the Yankees' bullpen and was retrieved by a teammate, marking his first slam since Sept. 20, 2013, off the Giants' George Kontos. Lou Gehrig is second on the all-time grand slam list with 23.

A-Rod on grand slam, win

"The one thing that he's always had is a fundamental swing, and he uses his lower half extremely well," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Alex is a big man. This is not a little guy; this is a big guy. He's never been a guy that just tries to pull, pull, pull. He's willing to use all fields, and when he squares up a ball, it's going to go." More >

Girardi on A-Rod's slam, win

Sano doubt about it: Sano has been the Twins' best hitter since being called up on July 2, and he came through yet again with a clutch two-run blast off Sabathia in the seventh to give the Twins the lead. It was the ninth career homer for Sano, but his first off a left-hander. He waited on a first-pitch 83-mph changeup and hit it 386 feet from home plate with an exit velocity of 105 mph, as projected by Statcast™.

"It's a lot to put on that man, to put him in the slot that we have, but he's responded," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "The numbers are accumulating quickly. He's adjusted to the DH role, and tonight in a big situation and a big stage, he did it again."

CC deals early: For the third straight start, Sabathia showcased some increased velocity as he commanded the Twins' lineup early, retiring the first 13 men before issuing a one-out walk to Trevor Plouffe in the fifth.

Ryan's impressive pick

Sabathia was helped by two nice defensive plays from the left side of his infield in the fourth, but he gave up a run in the fifth and departed on the losing side by the time he yielded to Rumbelow in the seventh. Sabathia has a 3.38 ERA over his last three starts since Aug. 6.

Gregorius shows off smooth hands

"I was hoping to go deeper and help the guys a little more," Sabathia said. "I know the bullpen's been struggling. It's been rough on them this year, so it's time for some of us to step up -- me in particular -- and give these guys a rest."

CC goes 6 2/3 innings

Suzuki gets Twins on the board: After Plouffe's walk in the fifth, Eduardo Escobar broke up Sabathia's no-hitter with a two-out bloop single, and Kurt Suzuki followed with an RBI double down the left-field line. Escobar was thrown out easily at home while trying to score from first.

"Aggressive," Molitor said. "Two outs. The ball was bouncing around the corner. [Didi] Gregorius had to make an off-balance throw and made it accurately."

Suzuki's RBI double

QUOTABLE
"You try to imagine how it will work out, but you're limited on certain days and try to do the best you can and put the people out there who are available. It's not easy. Sometimes guys have to get out of their roles and comfort zones. You hope they can step up. But tonight they weren't able to do it." -- Molitor, on the Twins' bullpen. More >

Headley's two-run double

WHAT'S NEXT
Twins: Right-hander Ervin Santana starts the series finale on Wednesday at 12:05 p.m. CT. Santana has struggled recently, posting a 9.90 ERA over his last four starts.

Yankees: Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (12-2, 4.26 ERA) draws the starting nod on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m. ET as the Yankees conclude their three-game series with the Twins. Over his last 10 starts since June 20, Eovaldi is 7-0 with a 3.22 ERA, marking the longest winning streak of his career.

Watch every out-of-market regular season game live on MLB.TV.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.