C.C. Sabathia hit Jim Thome in the top of the second, and the Twins jumped out to a 2-0 lead when Michael Cuddyer made Sabathia pay. Cuddles blasted one to straightaway center field and over the fence, throwing 40,000+ into a frenzy. One inning later, Orlando Hudson ignored Scott Ullger's stop sign and advanced to third on a Joe Mauer groundout where Mark Teixeira had to dive to the base to beat Mauer. Hudson then scored on a Jorge Posada passed ball.
Francisco Liriano, for his part, was largely amazing. He was absolutely filthy, striking out seven in 5.2 innings, including a number of big ones along the way. When the Yankees tried to rally early on, Liriano rebuffed their advances by slowing down and eventually getting the outs he needed. Leading off the game by fanning Derek Jeter, and doing the same to Alex Rodriguez to end the Bomber threat in the third, were big highlights.
Both sides seemed to deal with an inconsistent strikezone all night. The difference is that the Twins ran into situations late in the game where blown strikezone calls didn't go their way, and they couldn't move on and do what they needed to do in the ensuing pitches. Pitches that should have been called in Minnesota's favor weren't, it was a recurring theme, but as much as I'd love to blame Jerry Crawford the Twins didn't come back and make the pitch they needed to overcome the bad call. A combination of bad calls, and of the Yankees simply being the Yankees, led to a disasterous four-run sixth for Minnesota. Still leading 3-1 with two away, Liriano couldn't get that one final out he needed to lock down his start and the game began to slip away.
Trailing 4-3 the Twins came back immediately in the sixth, loading the bases with two outs and knotting the game at four when Danny Valencia drew a walk. But J.J. Hardy struck out to end the threat. Two base runners in the seventh and two runners in scoring position in the eighth would be stranded, and suffice it to say that in spite of the bad calls the Twins built their own coffin.
Or maybe the umpires built the coffin, the Twins climbed in and handed the Yankees the lid, hammer and nails.
Luckily it's just one game. The Twins need to come out and win tomorrow under the guidance of The Pavstache. Here's hoping for a better result.
I'll leave it here for now: that sucked. We'll break the game down in more detail tomorrow morning.