Glen Perkins found the easiest way to keep New York from winning its fourth consecutive game in walk-off style: make sure they're ahead almost from the first pitch. The lefty failed to even get out of the first inning, allowing six runs and getting just two outs in one of the worst starts the Twins have ever had.
Mark Teixera led the Yankees with a pair of home runs and four runs batted in, including the eventual game-winning run, and Andy Pettitte managed to pitch around an amazing 12 hits in 6.2 innings to get the win.
Minnesota led 2-0 after the top half of the first, but Perkins quickly erased that lead with an assortment of batting-practice fastballs and wayward breaking pitches. The first two Yankee hitters singled, before Teixera and Alex Rodriguez hit back-to-back homeruns. (Nick Swisher nearly made it three in a row, but his fly ball died on the warning track in left field.) After three more hits and just one more out, Ron Gardenhire - and Twins fans far and wide - had finally seen enough.
Surprisingly, RA Dickey kept the game close in relief of Perkins, pitching 4.1 scoreless innings and allowing the Twins to stay in the game. Michael Cuddyer homered in the fourth and Denard Span blooped an RBI single to left in the sixth, pulling the Twins within two runs, but missed opportunities - including Carlos Gomez leaving the bases loaded in the seventh - hurt Minnesota.
Span answered Teixera's second homer of the game with a blast of his own, but that merely kept the Twins within striking distance. Matt Tolbert, pinch-running after a Joe Crede walk, came around to score in the ninth after a wild pitch and a pair of fielder's choices, but Minnesota could not complete the comeback.
The Twins left another 12 runners on base, seven of them in scoring position. And once again, they hit the ball out of the ballpark, but with nobody on base; all seven Twins homers in the series were solo shots.
The fourth game of this series, then, was similar to the other three - marked by poor pitching, inopportunistic hitting, and a Twins loss. But for once, the Twins didn't have to come from ahead in the late innings to pull off the spectacular loss; Glen Perkins provided just about all of the fireworks the Yankees needed, just one inning into the game.
POSTGAME UPDATE: The Twins placed Perkins on the 15-day disabled list following the game, with
battle fatigue Dan Serafini's Diseaseinflammation in his left elbow. Sean Henn will be called up to replace him.
The three Failures of the game (no room for stars in this one):
3. Carlos Gomez
Scored a run, but only because he managed to outrun a throw after getting picked off first, then scored on a single. Also swung at the first pitch following a five-pitch walk, ending a bases-loaded threat for the Twins.
2. Nick Punto
Listen, folks: Punto does NOT, repeat NOT, do the "little things" right. In this game, he kicked a grounder, got caught trying to steal second, and popped up a bunt attempt to first base. If Alexi Casilla did this in Rochester, he'd probably be in Beloit by 5 a.m.
1. Glen Perkins
Really, his was the ultimate fail. The game was, for all intents and purposes, over by 6:30 - and all because Perkins couldn't have got a high school softball team out.