NEW YORK (AP) — The Minnesota Twins are waiting for Oswaldo Arcia to consistently have nights like the one he had Friday.
Arcia homered and threw out a runner at home plate, Ricky Nolasco pitched six solid innings for his first win in more than a month, and the Twins flexed some muscle in beating the New York Yankees 6-1.
“We really have hopes for this guy. We like him an awful lot,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “You saw that tonight, what he can do.”
Josh Willingham and Trevor Plouffe also connected against Vidal Nuno (1-2) for the light-hitting Twins, winners for the second time in eight games. Texas and Kanas City were the only American League teams to enter Friday with fewer homers than the Twins’ 39.
“That’s a big difference for us, two guys in the middle of our order,” Plouffe said of Willingham and Arcia, who both rejoined the Twins on Monday.
Willingham broke his left wrist on April 6. The 23-year-old Arcia strained his right wrist two days earlier, then spent time in the minors. Arcia has at least one hit in all five games since his return.
Kurt Suzuki and former Yankees infielder Eduardo Nunez had RBI singles in the eighth, giving Minnesota its highest run total since scoring eight against Boston on May 13.
Nolasco (3-5) has struggled in his first AL season of a nine-year career. He had not won since April 24, a span of six starts.
But the right-hander was effectively wild in keeping New York from making any solid contact. Facing the Yankees for the first time in 240 big league games — 223 starts — Nolasco gave up a run on seven hits and four walks. He struck out three while throwing 107 pitches, 59 for strikes.
“A hard six innings,” Gardenhire said. “It’s never easy against these guys.”
Wind was whipping through the stadium when Arcia homered to right field with one out in the second. Several minutes earlier, a brief but heavy rain shower in the first inning sent fans scampering for cover.
Willingham led off the fourth with a drive over the 399-foot marker in left-center, his second long ball since coming off the disabled list Monday. Arcia followed with a single, then Plouffe hit a two-run shot into Monument Park in center field for a 4-1 lead.
The four runs allowed by Nuno ended a streak of 14 straight games in which Yankees starters allowed three earned runs or fewer. Nuno retired 11 of the final 12 batters he faced and struck out seven without allowing a walk in 6 2-3 innings.
“His stuff was pretty decent,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “But when he made a mistake, they hit it out of the park.”
Twins center fielder Danny Santana left in the third inning when he was cut on his left eyelid by his own bouncing batting helmet. Santana was sliding headfirst into third base on a successful steal attempt when his helmet flew off. It hit the dirt and caromed up, clipping his eye.
Santana was replaced by Aaron Hicks, who had missed two games with a stiff back.
Santana got seven stitches and said he probably won’t be able to play until the swelling around his eye goes down.
The Yankees tied it 1-all in the third on Jacoby Ellsbury’s RBI double and had opportunities to cut into the Twins’ three-run lead in the fifth and sixth.
Arcia helped end both rallies with rocket throws from right field. In the fifth, his accurate heave on Derek Jeter’s one-out single forced Brett Gardner to hold at third. Jeter strayed too far off first and Gardner broke for home. The speedy Gardner was tagged out in a rundown.
“It’s just a bad read, and it’s going to happen from time to time,” Girardi said of Jeter getting caught off first.
Arcia threw out Brian Roberts trying to score on Yangervis Solarte’s single to end the sixth.
“He’s always had a good arm,” Willingham said. “I think it’s more consistency with him.”
NOTES: The Twins last hit three homers in a game on Sept. 10, 2013. … Yankees OF-DH Carlos Beltran (bone spur, right elbow) was very happy after a pain-free batting practice session. … New York RHP Shawn Kelley (back) had his first bullpen session since being sidelined May 7. He will likely have another one Sunday. … Gardenhire said RHP Mike Pelfrey, who had Tommy John surgery in 2012, has inflammation in his elbow and is being treated with medication. Pelfrey’s velocity has dropped from low 90s to around 87 mph. Gardenhire said Pelfrey was experiencing tingling in his fingers. … Twins OF Sam Fuld (concussion) did cardio exercises and some light hitting off a tee. … Up next: Minnesota RHP Kevin Correia (2-6) faces Yankees RHP Masahiro Tanaka (7-1) on Saturday.
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