The New York Yankees are looking to put an ugly June behind them in which they finished tied for the third-worst record in baseball.
Pettitte has won his last 10 overall decisions against the Twins and will start Monday night for the visiting Yankees in the opener of a four-game set.
New York (42-39) has totaled 13 runs while batting .238 during its second five-game slide of the season - both have come in the past three weeks. The Yankees finished 11-16 in June to match Seattle, and now look to avoid their first six-game skid since dropping seven straight April 20-27, 2007.
Sunday night's 4-2 loss at Baltimore capped a weekend in which New York went 6 for 32 with runners in scoring position. The Yankees are hitting .236 in that department for the AL's second-worst mark.
"This is like life," manager Joe Girardi said. "Everything is not going to be easy. You find ways to get through it. I'm not going to get frustrated. I know the effort these guys are putting in. I'm going to stick up for them."
Pettitte (5-6, 4.22 ERA) is seeking to avoid losing four straight starts for the first time since dropping five in a row in 2008.
The veteran left-hander could be in good position to end his woes since he is 10-0 with a 2.33 ERA in his last 11 starts against the Twins (36-42), including three in the postseason. Pettitte hasn't lost to Minnesota since 2001 and has a 1.71 ERA in winning all three of his outings at Target Field.
Mauer, however, is hitless in his last 16 at-bats although he is batting .345 against New York since 2011.
The Yankees are 15-12 against lefties as they face southpaw Scott Diamond (5-7, 5.40), who allowed five runs over four innings in his lone start against them in a 6-4 defeat Sept. 19, 2011.
Diamond is 2-5 with a 6.21 ERA in seven home starts and posted a 5.74 ERA in June for his worst month of the year.
These teams have yet to meet. New York has captured the season series the previous six years, taking four of seven 2012 meetings. The Twins have changed considerably since they were swept in a 2010 division series by the Yankees.
"They have a bunch of young players that are very athletic that can play the game and are learning how to play the game and they have some new pitchers as well," Girardi said. "It's a team that's changed a lot over the last three years."
One of those young players, Chris Parmelee , made several mistakes in the outfield in Sunday's 9-8 loss to Kansas City.
"Mental mistakes, and those things kill you, probably as much as physical," manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Morneau went 7 for 15 with a homer, four doubles and six RBIs as the Twins settled for a four-game split. Minnesota dropped six of nine to finish June with a 13-13 mark.
|New York Yankees|
|June 16, 2013||Mark Teixeira||15-Day DL||Right wrist surgery - out for season|
|June 15, 2013||Mark Teixeira||Day-to-Day||Wrist|
|June 14, 2013||Kevin Youkilis||15-Day DL||Lumbar spine strain|
|June 01, 2013||Chris Stewart||Day-to-Day||Left game - dehydration|
|May 25, 2013||Curtis Granderson||15-Day DL||Broken left pinkie finger|
|May 24, 2013||Curtis Granderson||Day-to-Day||Left game - Broken left pinkie finger|
|June 19, 2013||Mike Pelfrey||15-Day DL||Back strain|
|June 11, 2013||Jared Burton||Day-to-Day||Groin injury|
|June 10, 2013||Aaron Hicks||15-Day DL||Left hamstring strain|
|June 01, 2013||Justin Morneau||Day-to-Day||Illness|
|May 29, 2013||Trevor Plouffe||15-Day DL||Strained left calf|
|May 29, 2013||Trevor Plouffe||15-Day DL||Strained left calf|
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Andy Pettitte has seen Robinson Cano 's sweet left-handed swing for so long that he can almost tell when a hot streak is coming.
The way Cano was launching balls all over Target Field on Monday night, Pettitte thinks another tear is right around the corner, and not a moment too soon for the struggling New York Yankees offense.
Cano homered twice and Pettitte broke Whitey Ford 's club record for career strikeouts to help New York snap a five-game skid with a 10-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins .
"It's impressive," Pettitte said, marveling at Cano's 435-foot solo shot in the first inning and an opposite-field homer in the third. "Hopefully he can keep it going. But what a talent he is. It's fun to watch him hit."
Zoilo Almonte had three hits and two RBIs as the slumbering Yankees offense woke up with seven runs in the last two innings to reach double digits for the first time since May 10.
Struggling reliever Jared Burton (1-6) gave up three runs and three hits while getting only one out for the Twins, who coughed up another eighth-inning lead. Ryan Doumit had two hits and two RBIs.
Cano also had a double, a walk and three RBIs for the Yankees, who totaled 13 runs during their losing streak.
"We're not that team anymore that we used to have the guys that we could say, `This guy might hit two home runs in the next inning,"' Cano said. "So we've just got to take advantage when we get men on base."
Pettitte allowed four runs and six hits in five innings. Joba Chamberlain (1-0) pitched an inning of scoreless relief for the win.
Scott Diamond gave up two earned runs and seven hits with five strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings for the Twins, who took a 4-3 lead into the eighth thanks to a solo homer by Chris Parmelee in the sixth.
Cano, however, had more in store for Minnesota.
"Tough out," Diamond said. "He kind of spoiled it for us tonight."
Burton, an effective setup man since joining the Twins last season, was shaky again. He gave up a double to Cano to start the eighth, then couldn't get speedy Ichiro Suzuki on a bunt single. Burton tried to pick off Suzuki at first base, but his throw sailed past Justin Morneau and allowed Cano to score and tie the game.
Almonte followed with his go-ahead single past a drawn-in infield, and New York cruised from there.
The Yankees haven't looked much like the Yankees of late, running out relatively no-name lineups filled with youngsters and journeymen while their stars mend on the disabled list. They had lost 13 of their previous 18 to fall into fourth place in the AL East, and Pettitte looked nothing like the consistent lefty he's been for most of 18 seasons in the early going Monday night.
He needed 41 pitches to get through the first inning. He gave up a two-run single to Doumit and allowed another run to score when he slipped to the ground while trying to field a comebacker from Oswaldo Arcia . Pettitte threw the ball over first baseman Lyle Overbay 's head, allowing Doumit to score from second base for a 3-1 lead.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi , who earned his 600th career win, had Preston Claiborne warming in the bullpen in the first, but Pettitte was able to settle down after that rocky inning, breezing through the next four to keep his team in the game.
"You hope that the hard work that they've been putting in starts to pay off," Girardi said. "Maybe this is the start of something."
Cano's second homer of the night, a two-run shot to left field, tied the score 3-all in the third, and Pettitte made some more history in the fifth. He began the night needing two strikeouts to pass Ford for the Yankees record. After fanning Clete Thomas in the third inning, Pettitte broke the record by getting Morneau swinging in the fifth for his 1,958th career strikeout.
"I feel very fortunate to be around for as long as I have," Pettitte said. "To be able to be mentioned with Whitey's name is obviously always an honor."
The Twins were missing Josh Willingham with a left knee injury, and Joe Mauer struck out in a pinch-hitting appearance in the eighth.
NOTES: It was Cano's third multihomer game this season and the 13th of his career. ... Twins RHP Mike Pelfrey gave up two runs and two hits with six strikeouts in six innings during a rehab outing for Class-A Cedar Rapids. ... Twins GM Terry Ryan on Yankees closer Mariano Rivera , who has tormented the Twins over the years and is retiring after this season: "God bless that man. He's been a tremendous closer. But it's not going to break my heart to see him go off into the sunset."