MINNEAPOLIS -- CC Sabathia had no idea if it was fair or foul. Joe Girardi thought it looked foul from his vantage point. But Mark Teixeira was not surprised it was initially called fair.
For the second straight night, the Yankees had an opponent's home run reviewed, and this time, the call went in their favor as it was ruled to be just a long foul ball for Justin Morneau. Taking two runs off the board in the first inning, it was a big call that helped the Yankees on their way to an 8-4 victory Thursday night at Target Field.
"Oh, a huge break," Teixeira said of the call. "Two runs in the first inning against a good pitcher, that could've given them some momentum. And I'm always a big believer that if you give CC a lead, he's going to hold it. Because of that, we were able to get him a lead in the next couple innings, and he held it."
As he picked up his 17th victory of the season, Sabathia helped the Yankees maintain their half-game lead over the Red Sox in the American League East.
Teixeira did note, though, that when a ball is hit as high as Morneau's was, it really is difficult to tell whether it is a home run. He said that he hits a few like that every year that go over the foul pole, and always land foul.
"The more you look at it, the more you think it's foul, but it could've easily been fair," Teixeira said. "Who knows, but unless they have some sort of special replay where you can extend the foul pool, it's really just a guess. I wasn't surprised that they called it fair, because it's really just a guess."
Morneau also thought it went over the foul pole. But not only did he not get a two-run home run on the play, Sabathia came back to strike him out to end the inning.
After falling behind in the count 1-0, the overturned home run made it 1-1, and Sabathia got Morneau to swing and miss three pitches later for the strikeout.
"I thought he threw him some really good sliders there," Girardi said. "As a hitter, it's frustrating because you think you got a home run and then the next thing you know, you're sitting down."
The Yankees took their first lead of the game in the next inning. And though they gave it back in the bottom half, Teixeira put the Yankees on top for good in the third.
After center fielder Curtis Granderson led off with a triple, Texeira followed by driving a 2-0 changeup from Brian Duensing into the second deck in left field, his 33rd home run of the season.
Teixeira then led off the fifth with a double, setting up the Yankees' fourth set of back-to-back home runs on the season, and the first since Nick Swisher and Jorge Posada did it on June 26 against the Rockies.
Swisher hit the first one, a two-run shot that just cleared the fence in left field for his 15th of the year. Andruw Jones followed with his eighth of the season, a no-doubter into the third deck at Target Field.
"Dude, I can't even hit a 3-wood like that," Swisher said of Jones' towering home run, which was estimated at 434 feet.
"I really didn't see where it landed," Jones said. "When I hit it, I knew I hit a homer, so I dropped my head down and just kept running the bases."
Duensing lasted just five innings, giving up six runs on 10 hits with a walk and a strikeout.
"They have very good pitch selection. They're very aware of the zone," Duensing said. "Tonight, I was behind in the count a lot, and up in the zone a lot. When you're behind and up at the same time, it takes away the advantage from the pitcher and gives them the advantage."
Three long balls from the middle of the Yankees' order gave Sabathia plenty of support, and though he struggled a bit, the left-hander pitched well enough to win.
Sabathia was hit hard in his first time through the lineup, but settled in and retired the next nine in a row and 13 of 16. The Yankees' ace went seven innings against the Twins, allowing four runs -- three earned -- on 10 hits with nine strikeouts and one walk.
The Twins made things interesting with a pair of runs in the seventh, but Sabathia retired Joe Mauer, Morneau and Jim Thome in order to get out of the jam, stranding a pair of runners.
"I thought in the middle of the game I felt good," Sabathia said. "I was making pitches, I was [throwing] downhill. It just kind of got away from me there in the last inning."
Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.