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Updated: August 18th, 2011 10:33pm
Twins Daily: Yanks continue dominance, hit three HRs off Duensing

Twins Daily: Yanks continue dominance, hit three HRs off Duensing

by Phil Mackey
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MINNEAPOLIS -- A brief rally in the bottom of the seventh inning made things exciting for a moment, but in the end the Minnesota Twins suffered the same fate Thursday night that they usually suffer -- a loss, 8-4, to the New York Yankees.

The skinny

Right-handed batters came into Thursday night's game hitting .314/.371/.525 with 52 extra-base hits in 448 plate appearances off left-hander Brian Duensing this season.

So it probably shouldn't shock anyone that three of the Yankees' six right-handed hitters on Thursday blasted home runs into the left-field seats off Duensing -- Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher and Andruw Jones -- chasing the lefty after only five innings.

"I wasn't really locating anywhere," Duensing said. "I was just either in the middle of the plate or up. I was never really down. I was kind of out of sync I guess you could say. Usually I tell myself if I don't know where it's going, they don't know where it's going. But I think they knew where it was going a lot."

Duensing allowed six earned runs on 10 hits, walking one and striking out one.

The Twins managed four runs (three earned) and 10 hits in seven innings off Yankees left-hander C.C. Sabathia, but a seventh-inning rally was cut short with New York holding onto a two-run lead.

Trailing 6-2 to start the frame, Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Drew Butera started the rally with back-to-back singles, then a chopper through a drawn-in infield by Revere scored the Twins' third run of the game. Trevor Plouffe followed with a bouncing ball down the third-base line that Eduardo Nunez bobbled, loading the bases with nobody out. Joe Mauer then drove in the fourth run with a screaming line drive to left that wound up going for a sacrifice fly.

But Justin Morneau flew out to right and Jim Thome was thrown out by second baseman Robinson Cano on a groundball to shallow right field, ending the Twins' final rally.

"Kind of the same night we've seen too many times," manager Ron Gardenhire said.

"(Duensing) got behind in counts and got some fastballs up and they deposited them, but it's a situation we keep talking about. You miss plays behind him, you drop balls, you don't turn double plays you're supposed to, you don't catch the balls you're supposed to, and it always ends up in runs, especially against teams like these."

The loss drops the Twins to 3-20 over the last 23 games against the Yankees.

Turning point

An umpire review sucked the life out of Target Field in the first inning Thursday.

With Mauer on first base and two outs, Morneau turned on a Sabathia slider and launched it deep over the seats in right field, hugging the top of the foul pole for what initially appeared to be a two-run bomb.

Morneau rounded the bases and pounded knuckles with teammates in the dugout, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi trotted out to request a video review.

The umpires took a peak and determined the ball tailed foul.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire came out to argue and was promptly ejected.

"The guy on the field called it a fair home run, and then I saw replays, I think we've all seen replays, you can probably look -- they said some kind of replay they saw ... that they get, they said like in New York or something," Gardenhire said after the game. "I said, 'I can show you a replay from California that would show it fair too.' In my opinion, and this is what I told them, If one replay shows it could be fair and one replay shows it could be foul, and no one really is positive, how in the hell do you change it?

"I don't get that part. And that's the part I never will understand. They said they saw a view on TV. I can show you three views right in here where the ball disappears behind the pole. It depends on the camera angle. And I just don't get it. If you ask the first base umpire, he'll tell you the same thing. (He said), 'I still think it's fair.' I know he does. He's told my players that."

Morneau eventually struck out swinging.

"I thought it went over the top of the foul pole," Morneau said.

"You can't say anything that's going to happen in the game after that. It's impossible. But it might change the beginning of the game or whatever happens. Who knows? I mean, the game could end up 10-2, or it could end up 2-0. There's no way to say whether or not anything happens, but it does change the beginning of the game for us."

Numbers game

5: The number of times Gardenhire has been ejected this season.

59: Career ejections for Gardenhire.

33: Home runs for Teixeira.

4: Touches for Mauer in right field -- three fly outs and a groundball.

4: Strikeouts by Rene Tosoni.

0: The number of days the Yankees have been below .500 this season.

0: The number of days the Twins have been above .500 this season.

Health report

• An MRI showed herniation in outfielder Michael Cuddyer's neck, and he received an epidural shot to help alleviate the pain. The team will give him another day or two before deciding if he needs to be placed on the 15-day disabled list.

• OF Denard Span was placed on the 15-day disabled list with lingering dizziness and fogginess -- symptoms that are more related to his 2009 Vestibular Neuritis than the concussion he sustained on June 3.

• INF Matt Tolbert (sprained left wrist) was available if needed on Thursday night, and the pain in his wrist is "bearable," according to Gardenhire.


"A lot of cherry juice today."
-- Gardenhire, joking before the game about how he planned to get through a chaotic night at the ballpark.

""I was dejected before I was ejected."
-- Gardenhire after the game.

On deck

The series continues Friday (7:10 p.m., 1500 ESPN) when right-hander Kevin Slowey (0-0, 4.91) makes his first official start of the season against Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes (3-4, 6.55).

Slowey threw two innings in Cleveland on Sunday before rain washed away what would have been his first official start of the season. Slowey hasn't officially appeared in a game for the Twins since allowing two earned runs in 2/3 innings to the Arizona Diamondbacks on May 20.

Since landing on the disabled list for nearly three months with shoulder fatigue and inflammation, Hughes' fastball velocity is up from 89 in mid-April to 92 in his last outing. Hughes gave up two earned runs on four hits and a walk in six innings, striking out six against the Tampa Bay Rays. Current Twins hitters own a .262/.354/.429 batting line with three extra-base hits in 48 plate appearances against Hughes.

Coming up

• Saturday: vs. Yankees, 6:10 p.m. LHP Francisco Liriano (8-9, 5.12) vs. RHP A.J. Burnett (9-9, 4.61)
• Sunday: vs. Yankees, 1:10 p.m. RHP Nick Blackburn (7-10, 4.53) vs. RHP Ivan Nova (12-4, 4.12)
• Monday: vs. Orioles, 7:10 p.m. RHP Carl Pavano (6-9, 4.52) vs. RHP Jeremy Guthrie (5-16, 4.55)

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