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NYY@MIN: CC strikes out nine to earn his 200th win

With vital staples missing from their lineup this year, the Yankees have still managed to stay in the race in the American League East.

With Sunday's series finale against the Twins the last game before the All-Star break, the Yankees are 51-43 coming off Saturday's 4-1 loss, and they are amongst the crowd contending for a division title and Wild Card spot. 

Yankees manager Joe Girardi won't take credit for New York's ability to stay above .500 at this point in the season, especially given all it has gone through.

"I'm going to give the credit to my coaches and what the players have done," Girardi said. "Those are the guys that have to get it done. The players have to go out and perform. As coaches, we try to prepare them and put them in situations where they can perform. The bottom line is, you don't make the pitches, you don't get the hits, you don't win games."

While the Yankees are 30-1 this season when scoring five or more runs, Girardi said the key to their success is just putting together the right formula where the offense continues to back up strong pitching.

"I think these guys have played extremely well, I do," Girardi said. "I think we've pitched well, I think we've played well. … It's been a formula where I've said we'll have to win the close games. That's what we're going to have to do because we're not going to score the runs that we have in the past here. We've been able to do that for the most part."

One of the Yankees' strongest starters, CC Sabathia, gets the start Sunday. Sabathia pitched in the Target Field series finale July 3 and gave up two runs on seven hits and three walks over seven innings of work to earn a win. He also struck out nine. Sabathia is 9-7 this year with a 3.99 ERA and 112 strikeouts in 19 starts.

The Twins will turn to their youngest starter Sunday, Kyle Gibson. Sunday will be Gibson's fourth Major League start and his second against the Yankees. On July 4, Gibson took the loss after he gave up eight runs on 11 hits and one walk in only 5 1/3 innings pitched. Gibson holds a 1-2 record with a 7.27 ERA.

Twins: Offensive struggles root cause of slump
While the Twins earned their second win in 14 games Saturday, their offense has remained anemic throughout their 2-12 stretch heading toward the All-Star break.

The Twins have been able to hit, but they simply haven't been able to score. In its last six games Minnesota is 5-for-47 with runners in scoring position.

"If I could slide [Mauer] by, I would bat him in four different slots," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

"Ultimately it comes down to somebody getting it done. We have a couple of real good days in a row where the ball starts flying everywhere, and you take off from there. That's the only way to get confidence going. It has to happen on the field."

Yankees: Girardi not worrying about injured veterans
It's no secret the Yankees have suffered their fair share of injuries this season -- particularly to veteran players.

Derek Jeter finally returned from recovering from a double fracture in his ankle, only to strain his right quad in his first game back. Alex Rodriguez is still rehabbing from hip surgery, and Curtis Granderson has yet to start his rehab assignment as he's still on the mend from a broken left pinkie.

But instead of worrying about when his lineup will return to normal, Girardi is focusing on the guys he has.

"I think it's the same attitude that we've had all year long," Girardi said. "Obviously, you expect guys to come back, but you don't put a date on it. You just go out and play every day. For me, I worry about things when they come across my desk, and not before. These are the guys that have played well for us, and you just go out every day and concentrate on that day."

Worth noting
• Phil Hughes struck out 10 Twins on Saturday, and the Yankees' bullpen added one more, the 11-K day coming after New York pitchers recorded 12 strikeouts Friday night.

• With Saturday's win, the Twins earned just their eighth win at Yankee Stadium (old or new) since 2002. In that stretch, they are 8-31. Comments