- Associated Press - Sunday, July 6, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire had a scathing assessment of Ricky Nolasco.

Nolasco allowed six runs and seven hits in a season-low two innings, and the Twins couldn’t overcome a nine-run deficit in a 9-7 loss to the New York Yankees on Sunday.

“He did nothing,” Gardenhire said. “He didn’t have anything. Nothing was coming out of his hand. They hit everything he threw up there.”

Nolasco (5-7), signed to $49 million, four-year contract, has a 5.90 ERA, the highest among 93 qualifying pitchers in the major leagues. He is 1-2 with a 6.53 ERA in his last six starts.

Minnesota lost for the 10th time in 13 games and is last in the AL Central at 39-48 as it prepares to host the All-Star game on July 15.

“It was a bad one,” Nolasco said. “Didn’t have anything, but that’s no excuse. Usually you battle and try to find a way. Just had a couple bad innings, and that’s all I had. I wanted to go back out and try to battle, but any time you do that to your team and drop them down 6-0, it’s tough.”

Gardenhire wouldn’t rule out a trip to the bullpen.

“We’re discussing a lot of options,” he said. “We’re trying to figure it out ourselves. It starts with him. You know what, he’s got to do a better job. Bottom line is he needs to figure out something because today wasn’t any good at all. He didn’t do anything. He didn’t locate anything. They were all over every pitch. So, we’ve got to figure out where we go next.”

Jacoby Ellsbury homered, doubled and drove in four runs for the Yankees, who moved back above .500 at 44-43. Before the game, New York traded Vidal Nuno to Arizona for Brandon McCarthy and cut outfielder Alfonso Soriano.

“Sometimes you can’t really pinpoint it, but we like where we’re at right now,” Ellsbury said. “Hopefully keep it rolling.”

Derek Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki each had three hits for the Yankees, who have won 14 of 18 overall at Target Field. Jeter’s ninth-inning single made him the eighth player to reach 3,400 hits.

“We pay a little bit of attention, but I don’t think he pays too close attention to it,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Obviously, he’s going to end up way up there in record books. He pays more attention to wins, and that’s what we worry about.”

New York took three of four from the Twins after losing nine of its previous 11.

After Oswaldo Arcia’s two-out RBI single pulled the Twins within two runs and left runners at the corners, David Robertson got Kurt Suzuki to hit a grounder to shortstop, where Jeter threw to second baseman Brian Roberts for the final out. Robertson got his 21st save in 23 chances.

Trevor Plouffe had an RBI double in the fourth and Chris Colabello followed with a two-run homer, his second home run in three games since his recall from the minors. Plouffe added a solo home run in the eighth.

“Can’t keep getting behind like this. It just gets back to that,” Gardenhire said. “It’s the starting pitching. It’s not about anything other than that. We’ve been struggling scoring runs. We finally put some on the board. But you start a game 6-0, that’s no way to play baseball.”

NOTES: Twins OF Byron Buxton, among the top prospects in the minors, played his first game with Class A Fort Myers after being sidelined with a sprained left wrist. Minnesota GM Terry Ryan said Buxton will play center field and get two or three at-bats as he works his way back. … Minnesota will start RHP Kevin Correia (4-10, 4.94) when it plays at Seattle on Monday. The Mariners will use RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (6-4, 3.33).

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