Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Way off Target

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Way off Target

Article excerpt

MINNEAPOLIS - A wearying search for runs had stretched into the 11th inning at Target Field, an afternoon duel between the Yankees and Twins that "seemed like it was going to go on forever," Derek Jeter said.

Saturday's game might well have grown, if not for a sudden-death mistake.

Having driven home the Yankees' only run of the day, catcher Francisco Cervelli committed their only fielding error - air- mailing a throw over first base that allowed the winning run to cross the plate in a 2-1 Twins victory before 36,514 fans.

In dropping back to .500, the Yankees (43-43) have scored just one run in their last 18 innings following a six-run outburst during the first two frames of Friday's 6-5 win against Minnesota (39-47).

Saturday featured five shutout innings by five Twins relievers, ending with lefty Brian Duensing (2-2). But the Yanks hadn't done much against right-handed starter Yohan Pino, 30, a veteran of 305 minor league games making just his fourth big league start.

And they wasted seven strong innings from David Phelps, who paid dearly for surrendering a late, game-tying home run to Josh Willingham.

"There's going to be games where we don't score a lot of runs, that's why it's frustrating for me to give up a leadoff homer in the seventh," Phelps said. "Put up a zero there, we can put that game away with our bullpen."

Making his first appearance since Sunday, lefty Matt Thornton (0- 2) started his second inning of relief when pinch-hitter Chris Colabello nearly ended it with an 11th-inning leadoff drive that slammed atop the high right field wall for a double.

The Twins loaded the bases with one out when Thornton fielded Trevor Plouffe's comebacker and flipped to Cervelli for the force play at home.

But in attempting to nail Plouffe at first base for an inning- ending double play, Cervelli lost his grip and sailed a throw into right field. Willingham easily trotted home, giving Minnesota its first win in a four-game series that concludes today.

Afterward, Cervelli described being caught between firing over the runner Plouffe's head and stopping his throwing motion; he hadn't time to step out and create a clearer path to throw. …

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