MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Minnesota's hope of a long outing by starter Nick Blackburn to save its tired bullpen was lost when the right-hander took a line drive off his nose.
Sent back to work after a 12-inning defeat the night before, Twins relievers came through with an impressive performance.
With one out in the fifth inning, Bobby Abreu's liner glanced off Blackburn's glove and hit the pitcher in the nose. Blackburn was sent sprawling, flopping flat on his back for a frightening moment before quickly popping up to his feet.
The rookie right-hander walked off the field under his own power, escorted by a trainer with a bloody towel pressed against his face. Blackburn did not lose consciousness or any teeth. X-rays were negative and he is day-to-day with a bruised nose.
"It happens. It's part of the game. Everything turned out all right," said Blackburn, the right side of his nose and upper lip visibly swollen. "I'll be able to get out there and get back out there on the mound."
The play certainly scared Abreu. The slugger winced and put his hands on the sides of his helmet as he broke from the batter's box and ran to first for an infield single. He looked shaken while standing on the bag, and again in the dugout after the inning.
"I was feeling bad, really. I was thinking there was something wrong," said Abreu, who spoke with Blackburn after the game to make sure he was all right. "He went to the ground and I was just praying that there was nothing wrong with the guy."
With Blackburn gone, Minnesota's bullpen held the Yankees scoreless the rest of the way. Brian Bass (2-1) finished the fifth by retiring Alex Rodriguez and Hideki Matsui, then worked the sixth. Jesse Crain followed with two shutout innings and Joe Nathan pitched the ninth.
After using all seven relievers and losing 7-6 Saturday night, the Twins bounced back to snap New York's three-game winning streak and hand the Yankees only their third loss in 11 games.
"It was good to be able to go out there and get two innings, our bullpen being the way it was today," Bass said.
The Twins are in the middle of a stretch in which they play 40 games in 41 days, and they had starters Glen Perkins and Kevin Slowey ready in the bullpen in case of emergency. Thanks to Bass, Crain and Nathan, that wasn't necessary.
"You can't ask any more of those guys," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Derek Jeter homered for New York (28-28), which returned to the .500 mark less than 24 hours after surpassing it for the first time since May 4.
The Twins started strong against early season standout Darrell Rasner (3-2). The first three Minnesota hitters reached base to begin the game, and Cuddyer drove in Alexi Casilla and Mike Redmond with a single for the first of his three hits.
Mike Lamb's sacrifice fly made it 3-0 in the fourth.
From his backside, Cabrera tried flipping the ball to Abreu, but overthrew the right fielder for an error that allowed Morneau to race home and give the Twins a 4-1 lead. Morneau was credited with a triple.
"You've seen guys fall down, but you haven't seen them throw it over the right fielder's head like that," New York manager Joe Girardi said.
Rasner was removed with runners on first and second. He allowed four runs and eight hits over 5 1/3 innings. It was the first time in five major league starts this season that the right-hander failed to go at least six innings and hold his opponent to two runs or less.
"My whole goal every time is to go as deep as I can," Rasner said. "That doesn't change from outing to outing."
Cuddyer added a two-out RBI triple in the seventh off Scott Patterson, who was making his major league debut.
Jeter's home run in the fifth accounted for the Yankees' offense, but the Bronx Bombers had their chances against Blackburn early.
New York left six runners on base through the first four innings and failed to score in the third when Rodriguez struck out and Matsui grounded out with the bases loaded.
"Those guys just didn't have it today," Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon said. "But it wasn't just at that point in the game. I hit into a double play later and we just didn't come through today."
The Yankees wrap up the four-game series and a seven-game road trip on Monday before returning home to play Toronto.
"We need to keep pushing forward," Girardi said. "We've got a chance to win a series tomorrow."