Twins Break Through In The Bronx, Rally Past Yanks
NEW YORK (AP) — Joe Mauer hit a go-ahead single in the 10th inning and the Minnesota Twins broke through in the Bronx, rallying past the New York Yankees 5-4 on Tuesday night to overcome a dominant outing by CC Sabathia.
Delmon Young blooped a three-run double in the eighth to tie it and Minnesota took advantage of five walks by Yankees relievers in the last three innings. Matt Capps (1-0) got six straight outs and Joe Nathan earned his second save since missing last season following Tommy John surgery on his elbow.
The comeback had to be especially satisfying for the Twins. Including playoff games, they are 7-31 in the Bronx since Ron Gardenhire took over as manager in 2002. New York has won 18 of the last 21 meetings overall, counting three-game sweeps in the AL division series each of the past two years.
Mark Teixeira hit another three-run homer to extend his exceptional start and Andruw Jones went deep his first time up with the Yankees, who appeared poised to torment the Twins yet again before the bullpen collapsed.
Sabathia tossed seven shutout innings, retiring his final 17 batters. The big left-hander yielded just a pair of second-inning singles before a light crowd on the latest chilly night for baseball in the Bronx.
He struck out six, walked one and was pulled after 104 pitches. But the Yankees couldn’t preserve a four-run lead.
New setup man Rafael Soriano, spotless in his first two outings after signing a $35 million, three-year contract, walked three in the eighth. The last one, to Mauer, forced in a run and when Young plopped a three-run double into right off David Robertson, the Twins had fought back to tie it.
Denard Span drew a leadoff walk from Boone Logan (0-1) in the 10th and Tsuyoshi Nishioka fouled off two bunt attempts before hitting a single to right that sent Span to third. Mauer lined a single to right through a drawn-in infield.
Minnesota starter Brian Duensing quickly fell behind 4-0 in his season debut, continuing a frustrating trend for himself and the Twins at Yankee Stadium.
Duensing lost in New York in both division series losses, unable to get through the fifth inning in either outing. This time, he settled in after a rocky start and went seven, keeping Minnesota within striking distance.
Danny Valencia walked to start the eighth, pinch-hitter Jim Thome worked a free pass with one out and Span singled to load the bases. After Nishioka struck out looking, Mauer walked for his first RBI of the season.
Robertson came on and Young looped a 3-2 delivery toward the right-field line. The ball dropped just in front of a sliding Nick Swisher and squirted past him, allowing all three runners to score.
Derek Jeter drew a leadoff walk in the first and Swisher singled before Teixeira pulled a 2-0 pitch into the left-field stands for his fourth home run in five games this year. It was his third three-run shot, and the first time he’s connected from the right side.
It was a familiar feeling for the Twins, who were down 2-0 after four Yankees batters Monday night and went on to lose 4-3 in the opener of the four-game series.
What an early turnaround it’s been for Teixeira, a notoriously slow starter who batted .136 with two homers and nine RBIs in 22 games last April. This season, he is 6 for 18 (.333) with 10 RBIs and six runs scored.
In the second, Jones hit a liner into the front row of left-field seats for his 408th career home run. A former star with Atlanta, he signed a $2 million, one-year deal in the offseason to be New York’s fourth outfielder.
Jones was nearly hit by flying food while chasing a foul fly to left in the seventh. The ball landed right in a fan’s tray of onion rings and several of them scattered, landing all around Jones.
The outfielder smiled, and a groundskeeper came out with a bucket between innings to gather the onion rings.
NOTES: Twins 1B Justin Morneau, who is 6 for 39 (.154) against Sabathia, was held out of the lineup for the first time this season. He pinch-hit in the eighth and lined out to right. … Michael Cuddyer started at 1B and Jason Repko played RF. … Twins RHP Carl Pavano, hit hard in an opening-day loss at Toronto, is set to start against his former team Wednesday night. RHP Freddy Garcia makes his Yankees debut. … Duensing was one of only two major league pitchers to make at least 10 starts and 40 relief appearances last year. Hisanori Takahashi of the New York Mets was the other. … With Jones starting in LF, slumping Brett Gardner was left out of the New York lineup. … Announced attendance was 40,267 on a 45-degree night, but there were plenty of empty seats.
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