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Twins Drop Finale in New York, 4 - 3: Nishioka's Fractured Fibula Sends Him to the DL

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This wasn't a terrible series in terms of how the team played. Every game was a one-run contest, and considering the Twins were playing in Yankee Stadium (aka their personal house of horrors), they looked like and were a team that could stand toe-to-toe with the Bombers. That's a big step forward from where they were in Toronto, where they looked like a team who just didn't show up for spring training.

The Yankees drew first blood this afternoon, scoring a run in the third without collecting a hit when Brett Gardner walked, stole second, advanced to third on a ground out and scored on a sac fly. But the Twins truck back quickly, as Justin Morneau's smashed double into the right-field corner kicked off a nice fourth inning. Jim Thome followed that up with a double off the top of the center field wall, and Jason Kubel's grounder got between Mark Teixeira and first base for Minnesota's third double of the inning. It also gave the Twins a 2-1 lead.

Unfortunately, Francisco Liriano gave it all right back in the bottom half of the inning. A walk, single and double tied the game back up, and by the time the dust cleared the Yankees had plated two more. Liriano looked good at times this afternoon but at times saw his command slip, and it was that command that really let him down today as his first two walks both came around the score.

But the Twins had more chances, and in the seventh they manufactured their own run without a hit. Alexi Casilla drew a two-out walk before stealing second and taking third on a bad throw. Denard Span's groundout pulled the Twins within one.

And that was your final score.

Bigger than this game, however, is the loss of Tsuyoshi Nishioka to a fractured fibula. In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Twins had their second opportunity in a row to turn a double play. This time, as Nick Swisher bore down on second base, Nishioka hung in, taking the throw from Danny Valencia and turning a relay to first base. Swisher's slide was clean and really wiped Nishioka out. He had to be helped from the field.

Typical recovery time is somewhere around six weeks, although Nishioka will be fully evaluated tomorrow. And of course that timeframe will depend on his recovery as well.

In the meantime, Luke Hughes is being recalled from Rochester and will be with the Twins tomorrow for Opening Night at Target Field. Welcome back, Luke. I wish it were under better circumstances.