Twins Swept Out Of New York

BRONX, NY- The Twins got swept away by the New York Yankees on Monday night, as they were unable to battle back from a 6-2 deficit in the first inning. The team got a great effort from their bullpen, and Justin Morneau had four hits, but their last ditch effort was thwarted by Phil Coke.

The game started off in grand fashion for the Twins, as Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau hit back-to-back RBI singles in the first. Joe Crede and Jason Kubel would go down in order to end the inning, but the Twins had to feel comfortable with Glen Perkins on the mound, and a 2-0 lead.

However, it was a quick night for Perkins, as he squandered that two-run lead without even getting an out. The left-hander, who was trying to erase three consecutive walk-off losses for the Twins, did not even make it out of the first inning, in what was his shortest outing of the season. R.A. Dickey came in to finish off the inning, but the damage was already done.

Derek Jeter led off the bottom of the first with a single, and got the ball rolling. Johnny Damon followed suite with a single of his own, before Mark Teixeira planted a pitch over the left field wall. Alex Rodriguez then made it back-to-back, as he drove a batting practice fastball over the left field wall for his fourth home run of the season. Before you could blink, the Yankees had taken the lead. By the end of the inning, the score was 6-2 Yankees.

The Twins had a chance to put a couple runs across the board in the second, but a spectacular play by Robinson Cano on a Denard Span stunted the rally. Jeter made a great charging play to end the inning, stranding Carlos Gomez and Nick Punto on second and third.

The Twins got one back in the top of the fourth inning, as Michael Cuddyer blasted a solo home run to left field, a shot that the outfielders just looked at as it left the field of play. Gomez followed with a single to right, but was erased on a fielder's choice by Punto. Punto then erased himself, as he was caught stealing on a nice throw by Yankees catcher Jorge Posada. The inning ended with the score 6-3, after Denard Span was called out on a nice play by Yankees third baseman Ramiro Pena.

In the fifth, Yankees starter Andy Pettitte may have saved two runs, as a Joe Crede comebacker off his arm caught Brendan Harris in a run-down trying to score. That put runners on first and second with two outs, and Jason Kubel came to the plate with a chance to tie the game with one swing of the bat. On a 3-2 pitch, Kubel struck out on a check swing, which Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli fired to first for the third out of the inning.

With one out in the sixth, Carlos Gomez singled to left field, bringing up Punto, who was 1-2 at the time. Punto laid down a terrible bunt that Teixeira caught in the air, bringing up Span with two outs. On a 0-1 count, Gomez was picked off by Pettitte, but his blazing speed allowed him to get to second before the throw, giving him a stolen base. Span then floated a single over Jeter's glove at short, pulling the Twins within two runs. Harris grounded out to Pettitte to end the inning.

The Yankees threatened to put the game away in the bottom half of the sixth, as they got runners on second and third with one out. However, reliever Luis Ayala got Jeter and Damon to both look at strike three, and the rally was averted. As the ground crew began raking the field to the tune of Macho Man, you had to think the Twins were going to come all the way back.

The seventh inning brought the big bats to the plate, as Mauer, Morneau, and Crede were 1-2-3 against Pettitte. Mauer grounded out weakly to Cano, but Morneau ripped his fourth hit of the night into the right field corner for a double. After a Crede strikeout, Kubel walked on four straight pitches, bringing up Cuddyer. After Yankees skipper Joe Girardi made the move to the bullpen to bring in Jose Veras, Cuddyer walked on a 3-1 count, bringing up Gomez, who was perfect on the night. Gomez swung at the first pitch, popping up to Melky Cabrera in centerfield, ending the potential rally.

In the bottom of the frame, Teixeira unloaded on an 0-2 pitch by Ayala, extending the Yankees' lead back to three. It was his second bomb of the game, and tenth of the season. Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire then made the switch to Craig Breslow, a left-hander to face the lefty swinging Cano. Breslow got Cano to fly out deep to Gomez, before Cabrera ended the inning with a strikeout.

Edwar Ramirez got the call to open the eighth inning for the Yankees, as the Twins would send up Punto, Span, and Harris. Punto lined out to Cabrera in center, but then Span hit his second home run of the season, as he smacked a 2-2 offering that barely got over the fence in right. Once again trailing by two runs, Harris grounded out deep in the hole to Jeter, as the veteran shortstop showed he still has a great arm. Mauer then walked, bringing up Morneau, who was already 4-4 on the game. The Yankees would turn to left-hander Phil Coke to go at Morneau, and the young left-hander did just that. Coke retired Morneau on four pitches, making the All-Star look silly in the process.

With Mariano Rivera looking on from the Yankees bullpen, the Twins brought Crede, Kubel, and Cuddyer to the plate to face Coke in the top of the ninth. Crede walked to open the inning, and was replaced on the basepaths by Matt Tolbert. After a wild pitch moved Tolbert to second, Kubel grounded out to Teixeira, moving him to third. Cuddyer then grounded out to third, scoring Tolbert, and Gomez walked, bringing up pinch hitter Mike Redmond. Redmond worked the count to 3-2, but would ground out to Cano to end the game.

The loss completed a four-game sweep for the Yankees, who have now won six games in a row. The Twins dropped to 18-21 on the campaign, and have to feel unfulfilled after this four-game set.


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