The curse of the Yankees continues.
The Minnesota Twins began a four game death march in Yankee Stadium Monday by getting handed their third loss of the season. Yankees pitcher Ivan Nova went three scoreless innings before Jim Thome doubled to center scoring Justin Morneau and Delmon Young. Nova gave up a third run in the fifth when the Twins new import Tsuyoshi Niskioka also doubled to deep centerfield scoring Alexi Casilla.
That was as close as the Twins would come to the Bombers who sent out their own personal Cerberus as Rafael Soriano, Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera shut down the Twins each pitching a scoreless inning.
The Twins pitching wasn’t so lucky.
It was another poor start by Scott Baker, the Twins Brad Radke 2.0. Baker gave up two big two run home runs to Alex Rodriguez (his 615th) in the first which scored Mark Teixeria, and one to Jorge Posada in the very next inning which scored Nick Swisher.
Of the Twins first four starters, only Nick Blackburn has turned in a winning performance, and even that was border line.
The utter collapse of the staff can be attributed to a sheer lack of control. The Twins gave up the fewest walks in the league last year but have already allowed 20. Baker only threw 13 first pitch strikes and he himself had four walks to cancel out his four strikeouts.
The only bright spot in the pitching game was actually the relief pitching. Kevin Slowey and Dusty Hughes both put in scoreless innings earning a strikeout each. Both pitchers are building confidence as relievers are proving to be reliable options for the Twins to lean on when the starting pitching crumbles. To Scott Baker’s credit, at least he made it through six full innings.
The bats tried to wake up and rescue the Twins and they almost did but the Yankees Cerberus thwarted any comeback attempt.
“We got behind early, but we battled and just couldn’t come up with one more run,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Their back end of the bullpen is pretty good.”
Denard Span and Joe Mauer, who is off to another bust season, both went 0-4. Span had almost half the Twins hits coming into the game Monday. Although it is still way to early to call in the verdict on Mauer, his poor start is not settling at all.
The Twins play three more in New York before traveling back to their home turf for the home opener series against the A’s and then Royals. Tonight they face C.C. Sabathia, which won’t make rebounding from Monday’s loss easy.
Next Three Up:
Tues.—@NYY (Duensing, 0-0 vs. Sabathia, 0-0)
Wed.—@NYY (Pavano, 0-1 vs. Garcia, 0-0)
Thur.—@NYY (Liriano, 0-1 vs. Burnett, 1-0)