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MIN@NYY: Granderson goes yard three times vs. Twins

NEW YORK -- The milestones just keep coming for the Yankees.

Curtis Granderson became the first player to hit three homers at the current edition of Yankee Stadium, which opened in 2009, and Derek Jeter tied Hall of Famer Dave Winfield for 18th place on the all-time hits list at 3,110 with a single.

And oh, yes, the Yankees held on to defeat the Twins, 7-6, in the finale of a four-game series. The teams split the set, raising New York's record to 7-6 through its first 13 games. The Yankees were 4-3 on this just-concluded homestand, their first of the season.

"This win was important," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said afterward. "You want to come out of this homestand where you're on the positive side and you win more than you lose. We were able to do that tonight. This was not an easy series. There were a lot of runs scored in this series and people banging the ball all over the place."

Now for the Yanks, it's on to Fenway Park for a three-game weekend set against the rival Red Sox, highlighted by Friday's game celebrating the 100th anniversary of the old ballpark.

Granderson went 5-for-5 with four RBIs. He homered in his first three at-bats -- going deep in the first, second and fourth -- and singled in the sixth and eighth, as the Yankees came back after trailing, 4-0, in the first inning.

"It was quite a performance," Girardi said of Granderson. "What he did today was special, and those things don't happen very often. He should cherish it; it's fun to watch as a manager."

Granderson was right on the ball all night after working on his mechanics with hitting coach Kevin Long. The first two homers came off Twins right-handed starter Anthony Swarzak, who didn't make it out of the third inning.

"He sees the ball pretty well off me apparently, and I have to try to find a way to get him out," Swarzak said. "Maybe I'll switch and pitch lefty against him the next time -- I don't know."

It was a night of all nights for Granderson, who acknowledged the roar of 40,327 fans with his first curtain call after the third homer, which he hit on line off reliever Jeff Gray.

"I've played a lot of baseball, but I've never done what I did tonight, so it's kind of cool," Granderson said. "Alex [Rodriguez] told me it was definitely a night to remember. And I definitely will."

There were five homers in the game. Mark Teixeira hit his first of the season, as the Yankees scored three times in the bottom of the first. Ryan Doumit hit his first homer as a member of the Twins, a two-run shot in the sixth inning off Yankees starter Phil Hughes.

Hughes endured his third shaky start of the young season, allowing six hits and six runs -- only two of which were earned -- before being lifted with one out in the sixth inning. Hughes was credited with his first win of the season, if not his first quality start.

A throwing error by second baseman Eduardo Nunez in the first inning led to Hughes' early unraveling and four unearned runs. Doumit singled through a shift with the bases loaded and two outs for the first two runs, and Danny Valencia followed with a bases-clearing double to give Minnesota its early but short-lived four-run bulge.

"I make a ton of mistakes out there," Hughes said of Nunez's error. "The fielders make mistakes, too. It's part of the game. I had to find a way to get out of the inning. Unfortunately, I gave up the double. It was a rough way to start things out."

Jeter's hit to tie Winfield occurred with two outs in the second and scored Nunez, who had doubled. Jeter then came around to score on Granderson's two-run shot. Granderson, who had a career-high 41 homers last season, already has six in 2012. It was the first three-homer game of his career, and he became the first player in Yankees history to record five hits in a game that also included three homers.

"I didn't think we were really shocked when we saw him hit three homers, as many as he hit last year," Girardi said. "You don't always see them bang, bang, bang. But we've seen what he's capable of doing."

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