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Sanchez homer sparks Yankees over Twins

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MINNEAPOLIS—Gary Sanchez was struggling since coming off the disabled list—and the N.Y. Yankees were off to a so-so September start.

Facing the Minnesota Twins seems to be a cure-all.

Sanchez had three hits, including a mammoth home run, while J.A. Happ tossed six shutout innings as the Yankees continued their mastery of the Twins with a 7-2 win last night.

Could his first three-hit game since April 16 be a turning point for the catcher hitting .189?

“I've hit the ball very hard all season and I haven't got the results I wanted,” Sanchez said through an interpreter.

“If this is what it takes for me to find a good streak here or a good positive streak, yeah, why not.”

New York has beaten Minnesota nine-straight times, including in last year's wild card game, outscoring the Twins 66-23 over that span.

The Yankees are 20-4 in the teams' meetings since July 25, 2015.

The Yankees, 5-4 in the season's final month, increased their lead over idle Oakland to three games for the first AL wild-card spot.

Happ (16-6) allowed six hits while striking out three.

Acquired from Toronto on July 26, the left-hander has allowed two or fewer runs in six-of-eight starts for New York, going 6-0 with a 2.70 ERA.

“I ran into a couple outings before I came over where I really wasn't getting strike one as much as I needed to,” Happ noted.

“Tonight, I felt like I was ahead in the count a lot and kind of forced them to be aggressive and swing.”

Kyle Gibson (7-13) allowed four hits and one earned run in 5 2/3 innings.

He was one batter away from tossing six shutout innings before Sanchez crushed low 2-2 fastball 460 feet into the third deck in left field.

Before the bomb, Sanchez was just 3-for-29 since coming off the disabled list on Sept. 1.

Elsewhere in the AL, Houston edged Detroit 3-2, Tampa Bay topped Cleveland 6-5, Kansas City nipped Chicago 4-3 (10 innings), and Texas beat L.A. 5-2.

In the NL, Cincinnati dumped L.A. 10-6, Milwaukee shaded Chicago 3-2, St. Louis topped Pittsburgh 8-7, Colorado bombed Arizona 13-2, and Atlanta beat San Francisco 4-1

Washington at Philadelphia and Miami at New York were postponed.

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