Minnesota Twins Fall In First Meeting With Tanaka


May 31, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

It was all okay until the eighth inning. The Minnesota Twins weren’t completely shut down by Masahiro Tanaka and the New York Yankees hadn’t totally dominated Kevin Correia.

It was a 1-1 ballgame in the eighth inning when Jacoby Ellsbury decided to swipe second base, catcher Josmil Pinto’s throw went into centerfield and Ellsbury advanced to third. Next thing you know, Brian McCann doubled off of Brian Duensing to score Ellsbury giving the Yankees the lead. Mother Nature then started to cry.

The game went into a rain delay after Duensing intentionally walked Alfonso Soriano to load the bases with one out. The delay lasted 34 minutes. When the delay concluded Jared Burton was on the mound and only gave up one more run, a Kelly Johnson RBI infield single that second baseman Brian Dozier had to dive for to keep in the infield, after being put in the jam. The Johnson single gave the Yankees the deciding 3-1 lead.

The Twins did have a lead in the ballgame courtesy of a first inning RBI single from Josh Willingham. The Yankees matched that in the fourth inning with a solo home run from Yangervis Solarte.

Tanaka was something fun to watch. The first couple innings Tanaka found himself in trouble and fought out of it thanks a lot to Joe Mauer. Tanaka gave up four hits and walked two in eight innings of work. He sat down nine Twins via the strikeout.

Mauer’s struggles were really highlighted on Saturday afternoon. Tanaka put Joe Mauer down on strikes in his first two at-bats.  In those first two at-bats, the Twins had runners in scoring position prime for a Joe Mauer double, but nothing was to be had. Mauer’s next at-bat resulted in an inning ending double play. The former American League MVP ended the day going 0-for-4 and now is hitting .267 on the year.

Kevin Correia found himself in trouble a couple times in the ballgame as well, but also fought through it. Correia gave up nine hits in six innings of work with the solo homer being the only run he surrendered.

Twins and Yankees will face off in the rubber match of the series on Sunday afternoon.