MINNEAPOLIS - Jacoby Ellsbury homered, doubled and drove in four runs as the New York Yankees took a huge early lead, then held off the Minnesota Twins 9-7 Sunday.
Ricky Nolasco struggled again for the Twins. He allowed six runs on seven hits and one walk in just two innings of work.
"He didn't have anything," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Nothing was coming out of his hand (well). They hit everything he threw up there."
The opening day starter has an ERA of 5.90 and a record of 5-7 this season.
"He did nothing for us. He didn't give us a chance," said Gardenhire.
Anthony Swarzak also struggled in relief. The Yankees scored three runs on four hits over three innings against Swarzak.
Down 9-0 in the fourth inning, the Twins began rallying and eventually they brought the potential winning run to the plate with two outs in the ninth. Kurt Suzuki grounded out with runners at the corners to end the game.
At the plate, there was some optimism for the Twins. Trevor Plouffe, recently back from DL, went 3 for 4 with a homer and two RBI. And Chris Colabello, recently called up from Rochester, went 2 for 3 with a walk, a homer and two RBI.
"We put, whatever, seven runs on the board, and that's enough to win a ballgame ... We just can't keep getting behind like this. It's the starting pitiching," Gardenhire reiterated.
Derek Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki each had three hits for the Yankees, who have won 14 of 18 overall at Target Field. In his final at bat, Jeter singled, which was his 3,400th career hit. Jeter will be back next week for the All-Star Game.
The Twins head to Seattle for a four-game series against the Mariners.