After wins in the first two games of this four-game series against the Minnesota Twins, the Yankees lost Sunday’s game, 5-1. This was Darrell Rasner’s worse start since being called-up from AAA-SWB, but Rasner did manage to throw 111 pitches over 5 1/3 innings, as his won-loss record dropped to 3-2.
As it turned out, the Twins scored all the runs they would need in the bottom of the first, when their first three batters got on base, and then two runs were driven home on a single by rightfielder, Michael Cuddyer. Rasner did get out of the inning without any further damage, and set down the Twins 1-2-3 in the following two innings.
With the score 2-0, Darrell Rasner got into trouble in the 4th inning by loading the bases with no outs, but showed some toughness by getting out of the inning by allowing only one run to score, on a sac fly by third baseman, Mike Lamb.
Derek Jeter hit a lead-off homer in the top of the 5th, for the Yankees only run of the day, reducing the Twins lead to 3-1.
Bobby Abreu was the next batter, and he hit a bullet line drive that hit Twins starter, Nick Blackburn squarely in his face. He fell to the ground as if he had passed out, as Abreu looked on in horror while running to first to complete his single.
Thank God, Blackburn was able to walk off the field, with the help of the Twins trainer, as blood flowed from his nose. It was revealed later on in the game that x-rays were negative, and Blackburn would be okay. He is listed as day-to-day, and may even pitch in his next scheduled start.
Bobby Abreu was visibly affected by this very scary event, and at one point was shown being consoled by manager Joe Girardi in the Yankees dugout. I’m sure Abreu was relieved [like all of us] that Blackburn was not seriously injured.
Minnesota scored two more runs [one in the 6th and 7th] to finish the scoring in the game. That would be the final score: Twins 5, Yankees 1.
The run in the 6th came on a wired play in which a ball hit to right-centerfield by Justin Morneau, rolled to the wall, and as Melky Cabrera went to pick it up – he slipped. Melky was on the ground when he did pick-up the ball, and trying to make a relay to Bobby Abreu, threw the ball over Abreu’s head. Bobby chased after the ball, but it was too late. Morneau already rounded third and scored on what was first scored an inside the park homerun, but later changed to a triple and an error on Melky Cabrera. This is a play that will forever be shown on “blooper” highlight videos.
The Yankees only real chance to score some runs came in the top of the third inning, when they loaded the bases [against Blackburn] with one out. This gave them an opportunity to have a big inning, but Alex Rodriguez struck-out for out number two; and, Hideki Matsui made the third out on a weak grounder to second base. Inning over. Rally stopped. Great pitching by Nick Blackburn.
Because Nick Blackburn was hit by the batted ball by Abreu, with one out in the 4th inning, he could not get the win in this game. Brian Bass replaced Blackburn, and was the winning pitcher, throwing 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Then, Jesse Crain pitched two scoreless innings [in the 7th and 8th]; and, Joe Nathan threw a scoreless 9th, to close out the win for the Twins.
The Yankees made a roster move before the game, calling-up, righthanded reliever, Scott Patterson from AAA-SWB. To make room for Patterson on the 25-man roster, the Yankees placed Morgan Ensberg on the “designated for assignment” list.
Scott Patterson relieved Rasner with one out in the 6th inning, which was his major league debut. His first performance in the majors was only okay, as Patterson allowed one earned run, while giving up one hit, and two walks, and striking out two, in his 1 1/3 innings of work.
This loss moves the Yankees back down to the .500 mark, at 28-28; and, they also drop one more game behind both the first place Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox, who both won their games today.
So, the Yankees won the first game of this series, 6-5, with Mike Mussina pitching a solid 6 innings for the win. Mussina is now 8-4, and well on his way to an All-Star selection, and, a possible 20 win season. Mariano Rivera closed-out the game, recording his 14th save.
The Yankees won a big extra innings game [12 innings], 7-6, in game number two of this series, on Saturday. Wang didn’t pitch well at all in this game. Ross Ohlendorf (1-1) was the winning pitcher. Another save by Mariano, #15. Rivera lowered his ERA to: 0.36.
Andy Pettitte starts for the Yankees in the final game of this series, Monday, June 2nd. Hopefully, Andy pitches a great game, leading the way for the Yankees to win this series, vs. the Twins, three games to one.
Then, it’s back to the Bronx for Joba Chamberlain’s first major league start on Tuesday, June 3rd against the Toronto Blue Jays. Very Exciting !!! I can’t wait !!!
Joba’s time has arrived, and he will be part of another great moment at Yankee Stadium !!!