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Yankees pitcher gets support for league-leading 12th win
spt ap Tanaka
New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka throws against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning of a baseball game on Thursday in Minneapolis. - photo by The Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — Carlos Beltran gave the foundering Yankees a jolt with a three-run homer Thursday night, lifting Masahiro Tanaka to his major league-leading 12th win and helping New York end a season-worst five-game skid with a 7-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins.
Zelous Wheeler homered in his big league debut after eight years in the minors. David Robertson notched his 19th save with a hitless ninth inning and the Yankees started an 11-game road trip with a sigh-of-relief performance that put their record back at the .500 mark.
Phil Hughes (8-5) was rolling right along against his former team, leading 2-0 until Beltran’s big hit cleared the tall wall above right field following consecutive singles to start the fifth. Wheeler went deep two batters later.
Tanaka (12-3) allowed a season-high four runs.
Wheeler had a single to help spark the three-run rally in the seventh, too, scoring on Brett Gardner’s single after a one-out RBI double by Brendan Ryan chased Hughes. Derek Jeter also drove in a run with a groundout.
The last time the Yankees had a losing record after the halfway point on the schedule was 2007, when they were 42-43 on July 7 but turned around to go 52-25 the rest of the way to snag the wild- card spot.
The Yankees haven’t been nearly as potent at the plate as they’re paid to be, ranking 12th in runs and 10th in homers in the American League. They totaled one run over Tanaka’s last two starts, both losses for the star Japanese rookie, but this was the breakout they needed.
Tanaka, who beat the Twins 3-1 on May 31 at Yankee Stadium, finished seven innings with nine hits and no walks while striking out a season-low three.
With Eduardo Escobar on first after an RBI single in the seventh, Tanaka dodged serious trouble. Sam Fuld’s screaming line drive went straight to Mark Teixeira, who easily stepped on first base for the double play to preserve the three-run lead.
Chris Parmelee drove in a run with a double in the first and Kurt Suzuki and Kendrys Morales had RBI groundouts, but the sputtering Twins missed their opportunities to put bigger numbers on the board like the Yankees did against Hughes.
The Twins have lost eight of 10 and fell a season-most eight games under .500.
Hughes was excited to join the Twins after a rough year with the Yankees, hopeful pitcher-friendly Target Field would turn some of those home runs in the Bronx into harmless fly outs in Minneapolis.
Hughes has been a huge lift for one of baseball’s worst rotations this decade, but he’s actually been far better away from Minnesota.
In eight starts on the road, Hughes is 5-2 with a 2.59 ERA and three home runs allowed. In nine appearances at home, he’s 3-3 with a 5.37 ERA and six homers. Hughes beat the Yankees at his old home on June with eight strong innings and only three hits given up, but he was charged with seven runs on this night.
Hughes gave up eight hits and one walk while striking out six. The last time he allowed seven runs was May 15, 2013, for the Yankees against Seattle.