The Yankees lost 10-1 to the Minnesota Twins at Target Field in the first game of the series. They previously went 5-1 on their home-stand and swept the Baltimore Orioles, and they now have a 5.5 game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays in the division as a result of the Rays winning and the Blue Jays losing on Friday.
Michael Pineda, who usually pitches well when he is on normal rest, allowed five runs on eight hits in 5.2 innings pitched. The scoring started for the Twins in the first inning as rookie Miguel Sano hit a homer to straightaway center field to drive in Torii Hunter, who is back with the Twins after playing his first 11 years of his career with them. That homer was a sign of what was to come for Pineda, who struggled with his fastball and slider.
Kurt Suzuki drove in Eddie Rosario with a single in both the second and fourth innings and Aaron Hicks hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Trevor Plouffe before Suzuki’s single in the fourth. Pineda, who is a better pitcher than his 3.97 ERA, needs to be more consistent as he has now allowed four earned runs or more in two consecutive starts and has allowed one or more homers in three straight starts.
“It’s hard to say,” Joe Girardi said. “He made some mistakes with his fastball. He made a mistake to Sano. It was a few things. Sometimes their (starting pitchers) stuff isn’t as sharp and tonight it (Pineda’s) wasn’t.” He also made some mistakes with his slider, according to Girardi.
Brandon Pinder come on in relief and allowed a solo homer to Hunter in his 1.1 innings, but Chris Capuano, who is the long man, truly put the game out of reach after that. He allowed two homers and an RBI single to give the Twins a 10-0 lead. The Twins had 14 hits, only one starter didn’t have a hit and Suzuki, Rosario, Plouffe and Hunter all had multi-hit games against the Yankees.
The Yankees had opportunities to score more than one run as they had 10 hits, which included three by Mark Teixeira, two by Didi Gregorius and two by Stephen Drew. Brett Gardner singled to right in the sixth, which means that he has reached base safely in a career-high 25 games in a row. However, he would be stranded at first.
Gregorius, who had the first of this two hits against Phil Hughes, hit his first career homer in 2013 at Yankee Stadium against Hughes when Gregorius was playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Yankees had three straight singles with two outs in the seventh inning off of Hughes, but Jacoby Ellsbury, who was 0-4, lined out to left to prevent any runs from scoring. Hughes, who had a shutout in seven innings against his former team, didn’t walk anyone and has the lowest walks per nine innings in the league.
The ninth inning was the only other time when a Yankee got to third in the game.
Drew hit a single through the infield to left field to advance Didi Gregorius to third with one out in the ninth. Ellsbury hit a sacrifice fly to deep center to score Gregorius and put the Yankees on the scoreboard and make the score 10-1. Brett Gardner popped out to left to end the game.
The Yankees will look to bounce back against the surprising Twins, who are 52-44, when they play the second game of the series on Saturday at 7:10 p.m. EST. CC Sabathia will get the start for the Yankees and will look to prove that is really back on track.
He is coming off of two starts where he has allowed two runs or less. In his previous start, on July 19, against the light hitting Seattle Mariners, he had his best start in two months as he allowed one run in six innings while striking out seven. His 5.25 ERA is still not where he wants it to be, but he has been throwing his change up and throwing to all parts of the strike zone a lot better in his previous two starts
Tommy Milone, who has a 3.38 ERA in 12 games this season, will get his 13th start of the season for the Twins. He allowed five earned runs in 2.2 innings in his previous start.