The Yankees got off to a quick start last night as Derek Jeter singled, and Alex Rodriguez hit a two run homerun off Twins starter, Livan Hernandez, in the top of the first, giving the Yanks an early 2-0 lead. The game could have been broken wide open when Hideki Matsui and Jason Giambi followed A-Rod’s homer with back to back singles. But, Hernandez got Robinson Cano to hit an easy fly ball to left for the final out of the inning.
Runners left on base by the Yankees, would be their theme for the night, as they were 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position, leaving 10 men on base. And to make matters worse, they left at least one runner on base in each inning, except in the 8th, when Jeter was thrown out [on a perfect throw by rightfielder, Michael Cuddyer], trying to stretch a single into a double; and, in the 9th, when Matsui hit into a 4-6-3 double play after a leadoff single by A-Rod; then, Jason Giambi lined out to centerfield for the final out of the game.
Even with all the runners left on base, the Yankees should have won this game, period.
But, credit has to be given to the Minnesota Twins, as they kept coming back against Yankees starter, Andy Pettitte. A single by Cuddyer (3-for-4), and an RBI double by, Delmon Young, cut he Yankees lead in half, 2-1, in the second inning.
In the bottom of the third, after one out, Gomez singled. Andy Petitte, who has one of the best pick-off moves in baseball, threw the ball past Jason Giambi at first, as he attempted to keep Gomez close to the bag. The ball rolled to the front of the stands, half way between right and first, advancing the speedy Gomez to third. The next batter, Casilla, pushed a beautiful bunt towards first base, for a perfect safety squeeze, scoring Gomez to tie the game at 2-2. The bunt was so perfect that Casilla beat it out for a single. So, this was the first lead given up, by Pettitte.
The Yankees had another chance to score in the 4th inning when Cano and Melky each singled. But, with one out, Johnny Damon ended the inning by hitting into a (6-6-3) double play.
In the top of the 6th, the Yankees finally capitalized on the many hits Livan Hernandez allowed them. Giambi led off the inning with a single. Cano was up next, and reached on a force play at second base. Chad Moeller then hit a grounds-rule double, that prevented Cano from scoring. But, the Yankees plated the runs on singles by Cabrera and Damon, to take the lead again, 4-2.
Hernandez was finished for the night after 6 innings. He threw 107 pitches, and allowed 13 hits, one walk, 5 earned runs, and only struck-out one batter. With numbers like that, the Yankees should have scored twice as many runs than they did. Going into the bottom of the 6th, the Bronx Bombers were in the lead, though.
Pettitte gave the runs right back, giving up singles to Mauer and Cuddyer, setting up a RBI single by Monroe, and a second RBI double by Delmon Young that tied he score, 4-4. The Twins had a rally going, but with two runners on, and one out, Andy got out of the jam by striking-out Harris, and getting Macri to fly-out to centerfield. A second lead was lost.
The Yankees battled back once again, scoring a run in the 7th, on a double by A-Rod (3-for-4), who then crossed the plate with the Yankees 5th run, on fielders choice with Giambi at bat.
It loked like Andy Pettitte would hold this lead, as he quickly got the first two Minnesota batters out in the bottom of the 7th. But, as “they” say, things happen in “three’s”. Pettitte threw a high, inside pitch to Twins catcher, Mauer, who blasted a long homerun [his first of the year] deep off the facing of the rightfield upper deck. This dramatic homerun tied the game [again], Yankees 5, Twins 5. Andy retired Morneau, on a ground ball to short, for the final out of the inning, but Pettitte’s night was over.
This was a very disappointing start by Andy Pettitte. He failed to hold “three” leads, and in his 7 innings of work, gave up 5 runs (4 unearned), on 10 hits, and only two strikeouts. A positive stat, was the fact that Andy did not walk any batters.
The way the game was going up to this point had to give anyone who was watching a feeling that the Yankees may not have enough in them to comeback one more time to win this game. To have any chance of winning this game, the Yankees would have to depend on a very undependable bridge to Mariano. Could the bullpen hold the Twins long enough for the Yanks to score the go ahead run, and hand the game over to Rivera for the save?
As soon as Kyle Farnsworth entered the game in the bottom of the 8th, I think all Yankees fans knew what the answer would be. I don’t think the sky is high enough to write the letters “NO” for all in the Yankees Universe to see !!!
Farnsworth delivered what all Yankees fans have come to expect. Cuddyer led off the inning with a double. He was moved to third on a sac bunt by pinch hitter, Nick Punto. And, in a game that Andy Pettitte blew three leads, the number three would again be a charm for the Twins, as Delmon Young stroked his third RBI double of the game, to drive home Michael Cuddyer with the go-ahead run, giving the Twins the lead, 6-5, for the first time in the game.
Kyle Farnsworth (0-2), who was the losing pitcher, capped off his usual performance by giving up another hit, and a walk. Only Delmon Young getting caught stealing third, prevented a few more possible runs from scoring.
Joe Nathan closed out the Twins 6-5 victory, in the 9th, recording his 15th save.
The Yankees return back to the Bronx for the start of a three game series against the Toronto Blue Jays, tonight [Tuesday, June 3rd].
Joba Chamberlain will make his first major league start in this game, and Yankee Stadium will be rocking. This is a major event, and the atmosphere at the Stadium will be electric. It will be like a playoff game, as the time for Joba has arrived.
Go Joba, Go !!!