NEW YORK -- Considering their past struggles in the Bronx, it would be easy for the Twins to take solace in splitting their four-game series against the Yankees.
After all, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire entered the four-game set with a career record of 7-33 in the Bronx, including the playoffs, and he had never won even two games in the same season at Yankee Stadium.
But even after two wins, the Twins still leave New York with a bad taste in their mouth, as they jumped out to an early four-run lead against right-hander Phil Hughes but ultimately couldn't recover from the three homers hit by Curtis Granderson in a 7-6 loss to the Yankees on Thursday night at Yankee Stadium.
"Any time you can scrape together some wins on the road is a good thing, especially against a team like the Yankees, but we wanted to win today," said right fielder Ryan Doumit, who had a season-high four RBIs. "We expected to win today. We were talking about that before the game. We wanted to win a series and we got off to a good start, but it's just one of those games where it didn't pan out for us."
It was a tough way to lose, as Minnesota took an early lead for a fourth straight time against the Yankees but simply couldn't hold on and failed to cash in by going just 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
It's been a common theme for the Twins, who have the third-highest batting average in the American League but have scored the second-fewest runs.
"I think when you look at any team's success, it comes with hitting with runners in scoring position," shortstop Jamey Carroll said. "It's a big part of the game. In games you win, it usually means you're successful, and in games you don't, the stats are right there to prove that."
Doumit helped the Twins to a fast start against Hughes, as he provided a two-run single before Danny Valencia added a two-run double in the first inning.
But the Yankees came roaring right back with three runs in the bottom of the first against right-hander Anthony Swarzak. Granderson hit a solo shot before Mark Teixeira crushed a two-run homer.
New York added three more runs in the second, when Derek Jeter brought home Eduardo Nunez with a single -- the 3,110th hit of his career, pulling him even with St. Paul native Dave Winfield for 18th place on the all-time list -- before Granderson hit his second homer of the game.
"It's pretty easy to hit when you're hitting 2-0 and 3-1 all the time, so I've got to find a way to get some offspeed pitches over for strikes early in the count and take it from there," Swarzak said. "All I want to do is give my team a chance to win, and when you give up six runs in the first two innings, that's asking a lot."
Granderson added a third home run in the fourth off reliever Jeff Gray, as Swarzak lasted just 2 2/3 innings. It marked the first time a player had homered three times in one game at the new Yankee Stadium.
"I've played a lot baseball, but I've never done what I did tonight," Granderson said. "So it's kind of cool. It's definitely a night to remember. I definitely will."
The Twins, though, also used the long ball to their advantage in the sixth, when Doumit hit a two-run homer after Justin Morneau walked.
But Minnesota couldn't cash in Chris Parmelee after he doubled with one out, as he was stranded there when Alexi Casilla and Denard Span hit back-to-back flyouts.
It was more of the same in the seventh, as Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham both singled off reliever Rafael Soriano with one out, but Morneau and Doumit struck out to end the inning. The Twins left another runner in scoring position in the eighth, as Valencia hit a leadoff double off reliever David Robertson but couldn't score.
"We had some opportunities as the game went along," Gardenhire said. "We failed to execute a couple of times, get 'em over, get 'em in. It's disappointing we didn't get this third game, but we'll take the effort. Guys were getting after it and rooting for everyone, and I think we threw everything we possibly could out of the bullpen."