NEW YORK -- The Twins had found themselves in similar situations against the Yankees in New York countless times before.
They'd certainly been down by several runs late in games at Yankee Stadium in the past, having entered Tuesday night's game with just a 6-31 record in the Bronx dating back to 2002 under manager Ron Gardenhire.
But this time, the results were much different, as the Twins rallied back from a four-run deficit with four runs in the eighth inning before Joe Mauer brought home the game-winning run with a broken-bat RBI single in the 10th to give Minnesota a much-needed 5-4 win.
"We have to find a way to win, and tonight we did," Gardenhire said. "Our preference is not to get down by four runs, but it shows a little bit of courage from our boys to come back late in the ballgame against some pretty good relievers. So it was a fun win."
It was also a win that required some good fortune, as just about everything had to go right for the Twins in their big eighth-inning comeback against reliever Rafael Soriano, who joined the Yankees this past offseason on a three-year, $35 million deal after serving as the Rays' closer last season.
For starters, the Twins drew three walks against Soriano in the frame, marking the first time in 344 career appearances that he issued three free passes in a game. The biggest of those base on balls came from Mauer, who entered his plate appearance just 1-for-13 on the year but had the patience to draw a bases-loaded walk with two outs to give the Twins their first run of the ballgame.
"Don't try to do too much," Mauer said of his approach in that at-bat. "Just take what he gives you. Soriano is tough, and he has a hard cutter. I saw him the night before, which helped."
The walk forced Soriano out of the game in favor of right-hander David Robertson, who served up the biggest, and perhaps luckiest, hit of the game -- a blooped double down the right-field line from Delmon Young that dropped in front of a tumbling Nick Swisher and scored all three runs because the runners were going on a 3-2 pitch.
"We'll take it," said Gardenhire of Young's key double. "It landed in the right place. We were fortunate to have the runners running on that play, since it was a 3-2 count. It was nice to see one go our way."
The Twins were then able to keep the score tied behind a strong performance from reliever Matt Capps, who tossed two perfect innings in relief of Brian Duensing -- the first time the right-hander had recorded six outs while with the club.
Capps' performance set the stage for Mauer's game-winning hit in the 10th inning after Denard Span led off the frame against left-hander Boone Logan with a walk. Tsuyoshi Nishioka couldn't convert on two sacrifice bunt attempts, but he still stroked a single into right field to put runners on the corners with no outs.
Mauer only had to get the ball through the infield, which was playing in, and did so with a broken-bat grounder that got past Robinson Cano at second base to plate the go-ahead run.
"It was set up great," Mauer said. "Denard went first to third on Nishi's hit, which was huge. All I had to do was get a ball into the outfield. It made my at-bat a lot easier."
Joe Nathan, making just his second appearance this season after missing last year with Tommy John surgery, then closed out the game for his second save with a perfect ninth inning. The right-hander's final pitch was a 90-mph fastball on a 3-2 count that struck out Derek Jeter swinging.
"It was just a good win for us to battle back against this team in this stadium," said Nathan, who hadn't recorded a save in the Bronx since 2005. "Obviously, we haven't had much success here, so to get this win here is nice. It was a big win for us, so hopefully, we can play off this and start playing good baseball."
Nathan's big save and the late rally came after Duensing found himself in an early hole, having walked Jeter and given up a single to Swisher before Mark Teixeira gave the Yankees a 3-0 lead with a first-inning homer on a 2-0 changeup over the heart of the plate.
The Yankees then hit their 13th homer of the season with one out in the second inning, when Andruw Jones homered in his first at-bat with his new team. The blast to left field gave New York a 4-0 lead coming from two homers in the first two innings -- the same scenario the Twins found themselves in during Monday's 4-3 loss.
"I was really nervous, but at the same time, I couldn't really feel the baseball and didn't know where it was going to go," Duensing said of his early struggles in his first start of the year. "But then I relaxed a little bit and started to flow with it instead of being herky-jerky."
As Duensing noted, he was able to get into a rhythm after those early dingers, scattering six hits over seven innings while striking out seven and walking two. It was important for the Twins, as the left-hander ended up keeping his club in the game despite the fact that Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia allowed just two hits over seven scoreless innings and retired 17 consecutive batters before being relieved by Soriano in the eighth inning.
"It seemed like Duensing kind of settled in," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He seemed to have us in front the rest of the night. We weren't able to tack on to that lead, and that's part of the difference in the game -- four quick ones, and then we weren't able to tack on."
With the win, the Twins were victorious for just the third time in 15 tries against the Yankees in the regular season, and they're now hoping it can serve as a springboard against a club that has had their number in recent years.
"That's a good win -- any time you can beat the Yankees it's a good win, but especially to come back like that," Duensing said. "I put us in a big hole right away, so for the offense and defense to battle back like that, it's encouraging."