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Updated: May 26th, 2010 8:54pm
Nick Swisher's ninth-inning HR sinks Jon Rauch, Twins

Nick Swisher's ninth-inning HR sinks Jon Rauch, Twins

by Phil Mackey
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins simply cannot catch a break against the Yankees.

After the Twins missed two key opportunities to take the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning, Nick Swisher belted a go-ahead solo home run off Jon Rauch in the ninth, helping the Yankees to a 3-2 victory on Wednesday night.

After being held scoreless in the rain-lengthened first game of the series, the Twins -- locked in a 2-2 tie at the time -- had a chance to take the lead in the night-cap when Drew Butera led off the eighth inning with his first career double. The next batter, Denard Span, tried to sacrifice Butera over to third, but 3B Alex Rodriguez bobbled the ball into foul territory, allowing Span to reach first base safely.

With runners on the corners and nobody out, Orlando Hudson then hit a line drive back up the middle, right to the glove of starting pitcher Andy Pettitte. Joe Mauer followed with a scorching grounder up the middle, but SS Derek Jeter -- who was shaded up the middle -- flipped to 2B Robinson Cano, who fired to 1B Mark Teixeira for an inning-ending double play.

After Swisher's home run in the top of the ninth, Mariano Rivera came on for his second save of the day.

Twins starter Francisco Liriano (4-3, 3.17) threw seven innings, allowing two earned runs on eight hits and two walks, while striking out seven.

The Twins took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Mauer ripped an RBI single to score Span. The Yankees answered back with an RBI double in the fourth inning by Kevin Russo, and they took a 2-1 lead courtesy of an RBI triple in the sixth inning by Brett Gardner.

In the seventh inning, Delmon Young powered a line drive for a double through the Bermuda triangle in right-center that scored Michael Cuddyer from first base to tie the game 2-2.

Rauch, who was rocked in the ninth inning of his last outing against the Milwaukee Brewers, took his first loss of the season.

The paid attendance of 39,353 set a new Target Field record.

RHP Nick Blackburn (5-1, 4.50) is scheduled to face RHP Javier Vazquez (3-4, 6.69) in Thursday's series finale. First pitch at 7:10 p.m.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd