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TOR@NYY: Hughes strikes out nine en route to 16th win

The Yankees departed for Minnesota on Sunday content despite coming off their only loss in a span of eight games, knowing they controlled their own destiny in a race with the Orioles for the American League East title. So they did not arrive at Target Field on Monday believing they would coast against the Twins, well aware that the AL Central's fourth-place club embraced the spoiler role over the weekend against the contending Tigers.

The Yankees proved as much in Monday's series-opening 6-3 win, jumping out to an early lead, and they'll likely take the same approach into Tuesday's game at Target Field with their division lead at 1 1/2 games after Baltimore lost the second half of Monday's doubleheader against Toronto, 9-5.

"You have to come out and play," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi, pointing out that Minnesota beat Detroit, 2-1 and 10-4, in Sunday's doubleheader. "It doesn't matter who you're playing. We've seen that. You could play a team that's been struggling, and it might be the time they get hot."

New York is the hotter team now, though, surging after falling into a temporary first-place tie with the Orioles.

Phil Hughes has won his past three starts, though he allowed four runs over five innings his last time out, against Toronto, and needed the support of a seven-run fourth inning to earn the win in a 10-7 victory at Yankee Stadium.

Those bats that supported Hughes have Twins starter Esmerling Vazquez's attention, according to manager Ron Gardenhire.

"That's a great lineup," Gardenhire said before Monday's game. "There are a lot of very good hitters there. If you get behind in the count, they're going to pound you. So you have to attack the strike zone. ... But it's easier said than done. That's why they're where they're at -- as always."

Yankees: Ichiro named AL Player of Week
Major League Baseball announced on Monday that Ichiro Suzuki was last week's AL Player of the Week, and he responded later in the night with another extra-base hit.

Ichiro played right field and hit second in the Yankees' series opener at Minnesota, doubling in his first at-bat and scoring a run in the first inning. He finished 1-for-5, collecting a hit in a seventh consecutive game to follow up a stretch that earned him his fourth career Player of the Week Award, but his first with the Yankees.

In his past seven games, the 38-year-old is 16-for-30 with eight runs scored, five RBIs, four doubles, two home runs and six stolen bases.

Ichiro enters Tuesday's game with a .282 batting average, up 13 points from where it stood before his seven-game hit streak. He arrived from Seattle with a .261 average.

Twins: Parmelee back with club
On Tuesday, Chris Parmelee can expect to crack the starting lineup for the first time since the birth of his son, Jack Jeffrey, on Thursday drew him away from the Twins for four days to be with his wife, Amanda, in Southern California. The couple's first child was 6 pounds, 15 ounces and 20 inches at birth.

Parmelee started for Minnesota in right field a day before he left the team in Cleveland, going 1-for-5 with a double out of the six-hole. As a pinch-hitter, he hit a two-run triple with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning on Monday.

"He'll be back out there," Gardenhire said. "So that'll be a nice thing."

Worth noting
• Right-handed reliever David Aardsma expects the Yankees to activate him from the disabled list prior to Tuesday's contest, marking his return to the big leagues after he spent more than a year rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, which he underwent in last July as a member of the Mariners.

• Matt Capps threw a scoreless inning and surrendered two hits on Monday after the Twins activated him from the disabled list. He missed more than two months with right rotator cuff irritation. Comments