NEW YORK — Jason Kubel hit a stunning grand slam off Mariano Rivera with two outs in the eighth inning and the Minnesota Twins snapped a nine-game losing streak against the New York Yankees with a 6-3 victory on Sunday.
Rivera replaced Joba Chamberlain (1-2) with the bases loaded and a 3-1 lead and walked Jim Thome. Kubel then pulled a 1-0 pitch into the seats in right, startling the crowd of 46,628 at Yankee Stadium.
Kubel's third homer of the season and sixth career slam snapped a string of 51 straight converted save opportunities for Rivera at home, tying the major league record set by Eric Gagne with the Dodgers. It was the first grand slam off Rivera since Bill Selby's game-ending shot for Cleveland on July 14, 2002.
Rivera hadn't allowed a run in 11 innings this year. The ace closer issued his fourth career bases-loaded walk and first since Oakland's Keith Ginter on May 6, 2005, before allowing his fourth grand slam, according to STATS LLC.
The Yankees tried to rally in the ninth, starting the inning with a pair of singles off Jon Rauch. But the Twins closer struck out Derek Jeter, Brett Gardner and Mark Teixeira to hold on for his 10th save in 11 chances.
Nick Blackburn (4-1) allowed three runs and nine hits in seven innings for Minnesota, which picked up its first win against New York since Aug. 13, 2008. The Twins had lost 12 straight overall against New York, counting the sweep in last year's AL division series.
Brian Duensing and Matt Guerrier combined to work a hitless eighth before Rauch relieved.
Randy Winn had a two-run triple and Teixeira collected two more hits for the Yankees, who had won six straight at home.
The Yankees wasted an effective start by Sergio Mitre while falling to 12-3 at home heading into a pair of difficult two-game sets against Boston and AL East-leading Tampa Bay. Phil Hughes is scheduled to face Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka on Monday night.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire lamented all of Minnesota's missed opportunities against the Yankees before the game, and he got a couple more to add to his list in this one. But he also got just enough for Minnesota's first victory in New York since July 4, 2007.
Justin Morneau's second-inning homer was it for the Twins until they broke through in the eighth.
The Yankees grabbed the lead with a two-out rally in the second. Jorge Posada bounced a single up the middle and Marcus Thames walked on Blackburn's 10th pitch of the at-bat. Winn then hit a liner into the gap in right-center that rolled all the way to the wall for a triple that made it 2-1.
Teixeira added a bloop RBI single in the fifth. Jeter, getting a rare start at designated hitter, set up the run with a perfectly placed hit-and-run single into right field.
Yankees CF Curtis Granderson took batting practice and fielded about 15 balls in the outfield for the first time since he strained his left groin May 1. He also ran again and did some stretching. "Everything felt good," he said. … Twins 3B Nick Punto was out of the starting lineup because Gardenhire wanted to give Matt Tolbert some playing time. Tolbert went 1-for-3 in his first game since he was recalled from Triple-A Rochester last Tuesday. … With the righty Blackburn on the mound, Yankees RF Nick Swisher was held out of the lineup so he could rest his sore left biceps. The switch hitter is feeling better but will wait another day before he tries batting from the left side. … The Twins open a two-game series at Toronto on Monday. RHP Kevin Slowey is scheduled to face Blue Jays LHP Dana Eveland.
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