Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Twin Killing

The Yankees offense has suddenly come to life, at the expense of the Minnesota Twins. One night after putting 12 runs on the board, the Bombers smacked the Twins 8-2 for 5th straight win and moved within 3.5 games of the AL East leading Tampa Rays. The win also kept the Yankees 3 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL Wild Card race. The Yankees have also won 9 straight home games.

Darrell Rasner wasn't stupendous, but he kept his team in the game, exiting with a 2-1 deficit with two outs in the 6th. But the Yankees bats came to life in the bottom of the 6th at the expense of Twins starter Kevin Slowey.

Johnny Damon led off the inning with a single, and one batter later Bobby Abreu ripped a Slowey pitch into the right field seats for a go ahead 2-run home run. It was Abreu's first home run since June 25, a period covering 77 at-bats.

Alex Rodriguez followed Abreu's home run with a single, causing Ron Gardenhire to pull Slowey in favor of left-hander Dennis Reyes. But the move back fired when Reyes walked Jason Giambi and red hot Robinson Cano lined an RBI single to center field for a 4-2 Yankees lead.

The Yankees busted the game open an inning later against right-hander Jessie Crain. Brett Gardner drew a lead off walk and Damon reached on an error. Derek Jeter, who had been having a miserable game at the prior to that, was unable to put a sac bunt down. So instead he roped a 2-run double into the left field corner to push the lead to 6-2. Abreu picked up his third RBI with a double into the right field corner and he would come home on a Giambi single for an 8-2 lead.

The Yankees bullpen was outstanding again. David Robertson threw to just one batter to pick up his second win, and Jose Veras, Kyle Farnsworth, and Dan Giese finished things out. Farnsworth struck out the side in the 8th inning and has not allowed a hit in his last 9 innings pitched.

Rasner was decent, using a pair of double play grounders to get out of two jams. The Twins finally got to him in the 6th when Carlos Gomez doubled and scored on Denard Span's infield single to tie the game at 1-1. The Twins eventually loaded the bases and the go ahead run scored when Jason Kubel just beat an attempted 3-6-1 double play. In fact there were two instances in the inning where a good defensive 1st baseman could have turned two, but Giambi fielded both grounders like a hockey goalie and wasn't in position to make a good pivot on his throw to 2nd base.

News and Notes

Robinson Cano is hitting .522 sinec the break. His time off included some BP sessions with his Dad, former pitcher Jose Cano. Only Albert Pujols and Placido Polanco have better post All-Star averages among active players.

The Yankees hope to have information today to make a decision on Jorge Posada's immediate future.

Johnny Damon has made an immediate impact in his return to the lineup. He's reached base 4 times in 9 plate appearances with 3 runs scored and an RBI. Joe Girardi is hoping he can play the outfield this weekend in Boston.

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