Apr
16

Back-to-back homers not enough; Yanks fall to Twins

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For only the sixth time in the Ron Gardenhire era, the Twins beat the Yankees in the Bronx. That does not include the playoffs but does date back to the old Yankee Stadium. The 7-3 loss was the Yankees’ second loss in the last three games.

(REUTERS/Adam Hunger)

Back-to-Back

It’s always yucky with the starter gives up a run(s) in the first inning of a home game, putting his team in a hole before they even come to the plate. Freddy Garcia looked to be on his way to having a smooth top of the first with two quick outs — one on an incorrectly called caught stealing — but the Twins strung together five straight two-out hits to plate a pair of runs. It was the first runs Minnesota scored in the first inning all season.

The lead didn’t last very long. Disgraced former Yankee Carl Pavano fell behind in the count 1-0 to both Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson, and both guys hit a homerun on the second pitch of their at-bats to open the bottom half of the first. Jeter’s ball was an opposite field shot to right, Granderson’s was yanked down the line and into second deck. After four pitches, Pavano had surrendered the lead and tied the game. Three batters later, the Yankees took a 3-2 lead when Mark Teixeira singled in Alex Rodriguez, who reached on an infield single and moved to second on a throwing error.

Pavano Settles In

(REUTERS/Adam Hunger)

Things looked great early on, but Pavano quickly settled down and retired 17 of the final 21 batters he faced. The four exceptions were a legit single by A-Rod, a walk by Robinson Cano, and infield singles by Teixeira and Jeter. Pavano did exactly what a veteran soft-tosser has to do, and that’s expand the zone. Home plate ump Gerry Davis was calling a 24-inch plate by the time the seventh inning rolled around, and the Yankees played right into it. They were swinging at soft stuff outside and chirping when pitches off the plate were called strikes. That’s good way to get the umpire on the other team’s side.

Pavano needed 23 pitches to navigate that three-run first inning, but he threw just 15, 10, 12, 9, 17, and 10 pitches in the next six innings. The Yankees really didn’t make him work, and in fact only three of the 21 hitters he faced after the first inning hit the ball out of the infield. It was pretty gross, the Yankees didn’t much of an answer. I hear the Twins are going to rub it in by starting Jaret Wright on Tuesday.

Freddy Settles In … Then Loses It

Like Pavano, Freddy settled in a bit after that adventurous first inning. He retired the next eleven men in a row, but the wheels started to come off in the fifth. Alexi Casilla doubled to the wall with one out, then came around to score on Jamey Carroll’s single two batters later. Joe Mauer drove in Carroll with a double. Two batters later, Justin Morneau hit a solo homer into the Yankees’ bullpen to lead off the sixth. Following that stretch of eleven in a row retired, Freddy allowed hits to four of the final eight hitters he faced, including three extra-base hits.

Garcia was unable to do what Pavano did, and that’s expand the zone with soft stuff. He didn’t have the wild pitch issues that sabotaged him in Baltimore last week, but Freddy left a few too many pitches over the middle of the plate and paid for it. No walks and five strikeouts is good, but nine hits against one of baseball’s worst offenses is not. With Michael Pineda and Andy Pettitte on their way, it would behoove Garcia to get himself back in gear and soon.

The Grandyman can ... and did. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

Leftovers

It’s unfortunate the Yankees couldn’t rally and make a game of it, because Granderson’s inning-ending catch of Morneau’s fly ball in the seventh will be forgotten. The Twinkies had a man on second and the ball looked destined for a date with the left-center field wall, but Curtis — who was shaded towards right with the lefty batting — managed to run the pitch down right in front of the Minnesota bullpen. T’was a gem.

Jeter (homer and a single), Granderson (homer and a single), A-Rod (two singles), and Teixeira (two singles) all had multiple base knocks. Cano drew the walk and Raul Ibanez chipped in a single, rounding out the night in offense. The 6-9 hitters went a combined 1-for-16 with four strikeouts.

The Yankees’ bullpen has been really good this season, so they were due for a stinker. Boone Logan got two outs, but not before walking two batters and hitting another. Cory Wade allowed four hits and two runs in his 1.2 innings of work while Clay Rapada managed a scoreless frame despite facing a righty or two. The B-relievers B-relievered it up, basically.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some additional stats, and ESPN the updated standings.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next

Game two of this four-game set will be played Tuesday night, when CC Sabathia gives it a go against fellow southpaw Francisco Liriano. RAB Tickets can help get you in the door if you want to catch the game in person.

Categories : Game Stories

36 Comments»

  1. Plank says:

    It would be nice to get a few games up before playing the Rangers, Sox, and Tigers.

    There’s always tomorrow.

  2. pat says:

    Michael, your hubris in the face of the baseball gods has angered them.

  3. 28 this year says:

    I know we need to let Garcia work this out but I don’t think Fenway on Saturday is the best place.

  4. Dino Velvet says:

    could have given Colon another try, but noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

    Cash ? genius!

    • jjyank says:

      It’s not as if Colon was a sure thing after he faded down the stretch last year. Freddy seemed like a safer bet at the time, and with the additions of Pineda and Kuroda, where would Colon be pitching exactly?

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      The time-honored tradition of picking a guy no longer on the team, pointing, and saying “see? this happened because he’s not here” continues.

  5. Dino Velvet says:

    and chirping when pitches off the plate were called strikes. That’s good way to get the umpire on the other team’s side.

    Everyone in the Red Sox line-up does way worse then that and it doesn’t hurt them.

  6. Manny's BanWagon says:

    Madison Baumgartner signed a 6 year extension. It’s unbelievable the way every team is signing their good young players to long term deals.

    Player development is getting more importatnt by the day since free agency seems to be going down the tubes unless you’re willing to sign a player well into their declining years.

  7. Rey22 says:

    Losing sucks. Losing to the Twins sucks even more. But losing to Carl Pavano to top it off? Ughhh…

  8. Johnny says:

    Lincecum got lit up. Can nobody in this game pitch anymore?

  9. Bil says:

    Swisher and Martin are together one big joke! AA players could field and hit better!

  10. Dannyc says:

    i am getting tired of watching russel martins at bats, he is automatic out right now. great fielding catchers who dont hit are a dime a dozen

  11. Zack says:

    OH well,Garcia can take comfort in knowing that both Weaver and Haren couldn’t hold back the Twins either..

  12. jjyank says:

    Tough loss, but it’s all good. Despite his early season struggles, it’s hard not to feel good about CC taking the hill against the Twins. A new day, a new game.

  13. Brian in NH says:

    I would say Garcia deserved to lose that 5th starter “competition” but hughes hasn’t earned it either.

    Pineda and Pettite!

  14. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Yesterday was so one day ago. The big man is on the mound tonight.

  15. Bronx Ralphie says:

    I would like to thank the writers of RAB who kept saying yesterday about how this should be a four game sweep, yadda yadda yadda. The Yankees do have a well known history of crushing the Twins but any team can beat any team on any day. Please no more jinxing, thanks.

  16. BaltimoreYankee says:

    Well, I think the Yanks are in great shape. If both Freddy and Hughes flame out, we have Pineda and Pettitte on the way. Any subsequent injuries or issues, we always have guys like Phelps, Warren and Mitchell. It’s nice to have some pitching depth.

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