Saturday, July 5, 2014

Offense had been the theme of the series in the first two games between the Yankees and Twins this weekend, with the Bomber breaking out for 13 runs in their first two contests in Minnesota. However, that was not the case on Saturday, as both teams were locked into a pitcher's duel that ended with the Twins winning, 2-1, in extra-innings on Saturday afternoon.

The game stayed scoreless through the first four innings until the Yankees finally broke through with a run in the 5th. Carlos Beltran walked to open the inning, giving the Yankees their second baserunner of the game, then Ichiro Suzuki, who singled in the 2nd inning to be the first, grounded into a fielder's choice at first base with Beltran being out at second base. After Alfonso Soriano struck out, Ichiro stole second base (replay showed he was out, but the Twins never challenged), moved to third on a wild pitch, then scored on a Francisco Cervelli single, putting the Yankees up 1-0.

The Yankees held that 1-0 lead for a couple of innings until Josh Willingham, who much really like hitting against the Yankees, hit a solo homerun off of David Phelps to open the bottom of the 7th, evening the game at 1-1.

Because of that game-tying homerun, Phelps was no longer in line to take home the win, even though he had pitched, really, really well in his game, giving the Yankees some much needed innings after Chase Whitley only went three innings on Friday. Phelps was charged for just the run on three hits, with two walks and three strikeouts on 107 pitches in seven innings of work.

On the other side of the field, Yohan Pino was impressive for the Twins, too, holding the Yankees to a run on three hits, while also walking two and striking out three. You could say that he pitched well enough to pick up his first big league win, but it wasn't meant to be this afternoon.

Shawn Kelley gave up two hits and struck out four in two innings of work behind Phelps to help get the game to extra innings. Kelley wasn't getting help from his defense in the 7th when Soriano, who finished 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, dropped two balls hit by the same batter, Brian Dozier, to open the inning. The second fell in for a hit, but nothing came out of it for the Twins.

Derek Jeter put the Yankees in a good position to take the lead in the 10th inning, singling with two outs then stealing second base. But Brian Roberts, the Player of the Game on Friday, grounded out to end the inning.

Matt Thornton opened the 10th inning on the mound for the Bombers, giving up a leadoff single to Sam Fuld, but retired the next three batters to end the inning. In the bottom of the 11th, Chris Coballeo opened with a pinch-hit double off of the very top of the right-field walk -- was almost a homerun -- and moved to third on a ground a batter later. The Yankees then walked Willingham, and Thornton hit Oswaldo Garcia to load the bases with one out. Trevor Plouffe hit a weak ground ball in from of the pitcher's mound. Thornton flipped the ball to the plate for the first out, then Cervelli's throw to first to complete the double play sailed well wide of the base, going down to right field line to score the game-inning run for Minnesota.

That was certainly a disappointing way to lose a baseball games, and it ended the Yankees' short two-game losing streak, and their streak of seven straight unbeaten games at Target Field. They come back to tomorrow with a chance to win the series. Hiroki Kuroda and Ricky Nolasco will be on the mound for their teams.


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