MINNEAPOLIS -- It's certainly no secret that the Yankees have had the Twins' number for quite some time.
The Twins, though, figured they were catching the Yankees at an opportune time, as New York entered the four-game series at Target Field on Monday on a five-game losing streak and without several star players, including Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira.
But the Yankees continue to torment the Twins. Samuel Deduno registered another quality start on Tuesday, but the offense could not back him and the bullpen faltered in a 7-3 loss.
The Twins have been outscored, 17-7, in the first two games of the series, with Robinson Cano providing three homers, including a three-run blast in the seventh inning on Tuesday.
"They're swinging good against us in this ballpark," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We're leaving pitches up, and it seems like every time we do, it flies somewhere. They shot some balls down the right-field line, which is good hitting, and they got some hits from the bottom of their order. And then Cano, you throw him a fastball inside and then flip a little curveball, and he does what he's been doing this road trip. He's just crushing the ball."
It all spoiled a decent outing from Deduno, who was pitching on his 30th birthday. Deduno went six innings, allowing three runs on five hits and a walk with one strikeout, but was saddled with the loss. It was his sixth quality start in eight outings this year.
"I felt good," Deduno said. "I was throwing strikes and making my pitches. They didn't hit the ball hard. They just hit the ball in the right place."
Minnesota jumped out to an early lead with a run in the third inning against Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes. Aaron Hicks, in his first at-bat since coming off the 15-day disabled list, doubled off the wall in right field and scored on a two-out single from Joe Mauer. The RBI single snapped an 0-for-18 skid for Mauer.
The Twins had a chance to add on in the fourth, when Trevor Plouffe walked and Oswaldo Arcia doubled with nobody out, but Chris Parmelee and Hicks struck out looking before Pedro Florimon grounded out to end the inning.
"We missed our opportunities," Gardenhire said. "We had second and third and no one out, and we couldn't get one in. We have to get the ball in play there. And there you have it. It kind of took the wind out of our sails."
The Yankees took the lead in the third on a two-run double from Alberto Gonzalez and added a run that inning on an RBI single from Ichiro Suzuki. Ichiro hit a dribbler down the first-base line with Gonzalez at third and two out, but Deduno couldn't handle it, allowing the run to score.
"The bleeders hit off him, there's not much you can do about it," Gardenhire said. "The little tapper to first, he probably could have picked the ball up and got the guy, but it's a tough play with Suzuki running. But he gave us an opportunity."
New York put the game out of reach with four runs in the seventh against reliever Anthony Swarzak. Gonzalez picked up his third RBI with a single before Cano launched a three-run blast to right field.
After scoring a run in the third, the Twins couldn't do much of anything else offensively against Hughes. The right-hander tossed seven solid innings, giving up just the one run on six hits and two walks.
"They had a lot of lefties in the lineup, and I felt like I was able to get my fastball inside to those guys, for the most part," Hughes said. "I made a few critical pitches when I had to get out of some jams. The offense did their job, and it was a good win."
The Twins rallied late, with Brian Dozier connecting on a two-run double off Yankees reliever Preston Claiborne in the ninth. But closer Mariano Rivera -- whom the Twins honored before the game in recognition of his pending retirement -- came in for a one-out save and was able to get Ryan Doumit to ground out, handing the Twins their third straight loss and their sixth in eight games.
"It was a disappointing night," Gardenhire said. "They pitched very well, we missed some opportunities and they got the big hits when they need them."