October 7, 2010 by staff
The Yankees simply own the Minnesota Twins in the playoffs.
Mark Teixeira hit a tie-breaking, two-run homer in the seventh inning and the Yankees rallied to a 6-4 victory Wednesday night in Game 1 Division Series AL; the Twins lost the 10th straight series.
“Circuit winner,” Teixeira said with a grin on his face, “there is nothing better.”
Yankees ace CC Sabathia worked, but reliever David Robertson fanned Jim Thome in a key location and Mariano Rivera got the last four withdrawals to close another victory for the defending champions of the World Series. The Yankees overcame a 3-0 deficit against Francisco Liriano and improved to 10-2 against the Twins in the playoffs since 2003.
Even a blown call by the referees – shades of the past two postseason – which went against the Yankees with two outs in the bottom of the ninth does not hurt them.
“It’s just bad luck for Minnesota. We just keep fighting. It’s a great team there. We played a lot of tough games against them,” said Teixeira.
Michael Cuddyer has hit a home run, doubled and had two RBIs for the Twins, who played their first playoff game outdoors in Minnesota since 1970. They hoped a movement outside seedy magnificent Dome Target Field would their fortunes around, but it was more of the same against the powerful Yankees.
“We need to get back on our feet,” second baseman Orlando Hudson said. “It is not necessary for us to sit here and talk. This is not the curse Twins against the Yankees. This is a new year. Hey, we still have to battle. ”
Game 2 is Thursday night. Carl Pavano will not be for the Twins against Andy Pettitte.
Jorge Posada had two hits and RBI and Curtis Granderson added a triple with two points for New York, who has never won a playoff series as a wildcard.
Rivera recorded his 40th save in 45 career rounds of occasions, but had to work a little harder than he expected. Replays showed Yankees right fielder Greg Golson – that stick inserted for defensive purposes – took Delmon Young sinking liner that should have been the last out.
But umpire Chris Guccione ruled that he trapped and the call was after the referees huddled. Manager Joe Girardi came out to argue, but in vain.
“They met and talked about it. Not that they were out of position. It happens,” said Girardi.
In fact, the Yankees benefited against the Twins in the playoffs last year when a ball hit by Joe Mauer drew clearly landed just foul.
This time, Thome has missed the call at the plate as the tying run. Rivera retired the hitter on a popup to third baseman Alex Rodriguez to end the game.
“Mo did a great job there,” said Teixeira. “If there were four deaths in a row.”
Rivera came into play in the eighth with runners at second and third and retired Denard Span on a grounder to preserve a two-point advantage.
Liriano allowed four runs on six hits with seven strikeouts and three walks in 2 to 3 May innings for the Twins.
Dominican left-hander breezed through the first five innings for his first career start in the playoffs, allowing just four hits as the Twins jumped out to early lead.
Cuddyer crashed a two-run homer in the trees in center field in the second inning, and Hudson scored on a passed ball in the third for 3-0, as more than 42,000 at jam-packed Target Field jumped to his feet.
But these power-packed Yankees, who swept the Twins in the ALDS last season en route to their 27th title, does not vibrate so easily.
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