Playing in the Bronx has been a nightmare for the Minnesota Twins, as they had defeated the New York Yankees just seven times since 2002, playoffs included, at Yankee Stadium.
Thanks to a 4-1 triumph, they can now make it eight.
This Twins squad rode on the back of 30-year-old right-hander Samuel Deduno. Perhaps the most crucial stat to note of the day is Deduno on Saturday was the first starter for Minnesota to go a minimum of 7 innings since he last did it himself June 27.
He did anything but disappoint. The bottom of the 1st didn’t look like the greatest for the Twins as the Bronx Bombers were hoping to build on Friday night’s 2-0 victory over the Twins. In fact, New York got off to an excellent start. Ichiro doubled off Deduno and Robinson Cano brought him home when he hit a ball that deflected off Deduno’s leg and ricocheted into the outfield.
Except the majority of the game was a pitcher’s duel on both sides. Phil Hughes provided excellent pitching for the Yanks in the first 7 innings. He threw first strike after first strike for them and in total, he rung up 10 Twins batters. The silence of the Yankee bats ended up leaving Hughes to fend for himself out on the mound, and even with him not reaching 100 pitches until the 8th inning, Minnesota took advantage of Yankee Stadium’s short porch.
Trevor Plouffe jumped all over Hughes’ high one up in the zone in the top of the 2nd to retaliate from New York taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st. In the top of the 7th, Ryan Doumit broke the tie with a shot to right. It was Doumit’s second career home run off of Hughes and is now batting .583 against the 27-year-old rightie.
The Twins added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the 8th to chase Hughes out of the game. It all started with Aaron Hicks having a bunt single to lead things off. A controversial play occurred in which left fielder Clete Thomas was ruled out as he was declared running outside the base line, but it was very close. As a result, Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire came out to argue and was ejected. In the end, the incident did not negatively impact the Twins, Pedro Florimon hit a smash to right and that extended Minnesota’s lead.
That is not to say, however, that the Yankees did not have their chances. In the bottom of the 4th, Vernon Wells was on third base and Zoilo Almonte at first. New York attempted a double steal with 2 outs that would’ve brought Wells home and, at the time, have given the Yankees the lead back. However, Almonte ran to second and was tagged out before Wells crossed home, and they had to go back to the drawing board.
The Yankees threatened again in the bottom of the 7th. Travis Hafner had a pinch hit double and Eduardo Nunez was brought in to pinch hit. Brett Gardner, however, softly grounded out to Deduno and the Yankees stranded Nunez at third.
With Deduno out of the game, the Twins’ bullpen continued his trend. Casey Fien was lights out and Glen Perkins had converted his 21st save in 23 chances.
Speaking of Perkins, he has had an excellent year. The All Star closer has 43 strikeouts against only 7 walks. The YES announcers speculated if he could be available for teams at the trade deadline. Saturday marked his 34th appearance of the season and would get a $1.5 million bonus if he finished 65 games. However, they speculated he could potentially be on the move not because of money but what they could get in return for him. However, Twins’ General Manager has not yet said if the 30-year-old Perkins is available or not.
With this win, the Twins improved to 38-53, while the Yanks fell to 51-43. The rubber matchup is Sunday with the 1-2 Kyle Gibson going for the Twins against the 9-7 C.C. Sabathia of the Yankees.