The Yankees got a break in the first inning tonight when the umpires turned Justin Morneau’s two-run homer into an inning-ending strikeout. With images of Joe Girardi’s reserved response to yesterday’s home run review fresh in his mind, Ron Gardenhire decided to teach the Yankee manager a lesson in automatic ejection. Morneau lofted the ball over the right field wall deep into the seats in foul territory, but luckily Dana DeMuth was not on hand to misinterpret the foul pole.
CC Sabathia looked better than he had against Boston and Tampa, but was still a notch or two below his best. He struck out nine, but the Twins made enough hard contact to bother the big fella several times. He took the ball for the seventh with a 6-2 lead and a very reasonable pitch count.
The Twins chipped away a run with three straight singles. Eduardo Nunez, in his haste to record a force out at third after spearing a grounder to his right, dropped the ball and the bases were loaded with nobody out. Joe Mauer, Morneau and Jim Thome were the next three hitters. Gulp.
CC needed to miss bats, but all three Twins hitters struck true. Mauer lined deep to left for a sac fly. Morneau flew deep to right. And Thome lost an RBI single to all 72 inches (and then some) of Robinson Cano. Sometimes the ball finds the gloves.
The Yankees escaped the seventh with a 6-4 lead and laid three nails out for the Hammer in the eighth. He pounded them.
David Robertson has not allowed a run on the raod this year. Minnesota is on the road, so no runs tonight either. Cory Wade mopped up when the lead bulged to four and the Yankees put CC back on the winning track with a 8-4 victory.
The Yankees offense overcame a top-of-the-order blackout as Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson only racked up five hits and one run. YES mentioned that Curtis Granderson’s tenth triple of the year makes him the first Yankee since Snuffy Stirnweiss in 1945 to have double digit homers, triples and steals. He fills up a box score with joy.
To pick up for the slack up top, Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher and Andruw Jones hit home runs and Francisco Cervelli knocked in two big insurance runs with two out in the ninth. Jones and Teixeira both probed the depths of this big stadium with massive shots. Jones hit it 434 feet.
The Red Sox beat the Royals to remain a half game behind the Yankees.