After losing thirteen straight regular season games to New York, the Twins pounded Javier Vazquez and the Yanks but good last night at the Metrodome. Vazquez was not impressive, while Minnesota’s starter Brad Radke was sharp. The Yankees looked sluggish and it won’t get any easier tonight with Johan Santana on the hill for the Twins. The Red Sox–who have played well lately–gained a game in the standings and are now nine back. According to Jack Curry in the New York Times:
What should have concerned the Yankees more than an overdue loss to a good team was an exasperating outing by Vazquez. Over six and two-thirds innings, he was bruised for six runs and nine hits, including two long homers, and he could not explain the patchy performance.
“I had nothing good on the ball,” Vazquez said. “I had nothing going for me.”
…After Vazquez’s spotty start, it is easy to understand why the questions about the Yankees’ fragile rotation will follow them into October. The Yankees are on a pace for 103 victories, but their starters do not leave them with an abundant supply of confidence.
Vazquez has pitched reasonably well this year, but he has been uneven. It will be on him come October to put the doubts to rest.
The most embarassing play of the game for the Yankees came after Torii Hunter singled home the Twins’ fourth run of the game in the fifth inning. As Vazquez walked back to the mound, Derek Jeter turned his back to first and strolled back to his position at short. At the same time, Enrique Wilson was standing off of second base adjusting his mitt. So Hunter took off and swiped second. The local papers blamed Vazquez for the lapse, but I think the mistake is on the middle infielders. Rarely do you see Jeter–who extended his hitting streak to 17 games–make a bone-headed play like that. It was summed up a forgettable night pefectly.
The Bombers put men on base in the seventh and eighth innings, but could not generate a rally. The most memorable play of the night for New York came when Godziller Matsui robbed Hunter of a homer in the eighth inning. Gary Sheffield, hit a dinger for New York, his 28th of the year.