Twins vs. Yankees: Game 2

By Jon Lane
First pitch: 6:07 p.m.

Pitching matchup: A.J. Burnett (13-9, 4.04) vs. Nick Blackburn (11-11, 4.03)

Forecast: Partly
cloudy.
Still a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms in the evening, but
there’s plenty of blue sky and a perfectly cool and crisp late
afternoon.

Throwing out the first pitch:
Reggie Jackson. About an hour ago Chris Shearn conducted an exclusive
interview with “Mr. October” for a Stadium Spotlight to be posted
later. Also on tap are chats with David Robertson, Chad Gaudin and
Francisco Cervelli, and Shearn’s pregame Off the Wall Vlog.

Speaking
of Cervelli, he was taking ground balls at third base during batting
practice, telling my colleague Joe Auriemma it’s to “keep my hand
active.” He’s the third catcher on the Yankees’ DS roster for a reason.
You never know.

A bit of news: Dr. Marc Philippon, who
performed the hip surgery on Alex Rodriguez, told reporters he doesn’t
expect A-Rod to need another surgery this offseason.

Other pregame chatter: Joe Girardi discussed
the DH debate, the mood of the clubhouse in light of “Molina-gate” and
A.J. Burnett’s chances tonight. Ron Gardenhire also explained why Carl
Pavano has been great for the Twins. Yes, that Carl Pavano.

Tonight’s Lineups: Molina batting ninth

Back with much, much more later

reggie_250_100909.jpg6 p.m. Reggie, looking dapper wearing a fedora hat, jacket and tie, bounced a pitch to Jorge Posada. See, he got to catch?

6:14 p.m. Burnett
needs just 14 pitches to work through the first inning, ending with a
punch out of Jason Kubel after issuing a two-out walk to Joe Mauer. A
microcosm of good and bad A.J. – he retired the first two batters on
five pitches and needed nine to get through Mauer and Kubel.

6:32 p.m.
That’s two scoreless innings in the books for Burnett-Molina. With a
runner at second and two out, Molina draped his left arm around Burnett
to provide instructions. The next pitch Matt Tolbert grounded out to
second. There is something about Molina’s ability to reach Burnett,
knowing exactly what to say and how to say it. We’ll see if this keeps
up.

6:53 p.m. Burnett catches Mauer looking with a runner
on first to end the third, a nasty breaking ball that’s his best of the
game to this point. That was a .365 hitter he sent to the bench shaking
his head.

gomez_250_100909.jpg7:09 p.m.
The Burnett-Molina connection breeds great karma. 7:10 p.m. Matt
Tolbert’s single was to give the Twins a 1-0 lead … or so it seemed.
Nick Swisher caught Carlos Gomez rounding too far off second base and
he fired a strike to Derek Jeter, who tagged Gomez out right before
Delmon Young touched home plate. That’s the biggest play of the game,
but the Yankees have to get something started offensively. Nick
Blackburn has held them hitless through four innings, allowing only a
walk.

7:32 p.m. Burnett after five innings: no runs, two
hits, four walks, two hit batsman, five strikeouts – in other words
he’s been A.J. Burnett. He’s thrown 73 pitches – 25 in the fifth – but
is backed up by a deep and rested bullpen. Provided the Yankees solve
Blackburn, you’ll see Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Mariano Rivera.

Theme of the game so far: Burnett/Molina’s and the Yankees’ ability to do damage control.

7:40 p.m. Robinson Cano ends Blackburn’s no-hitter at 4 2/3 IP with a single to center.

7:55 p.m.
Brendan Harris, of all people, triples to left to put the Twins on the
board, though a better left fielder makes the play. Burnett’s thrown 96
pitches after six, and David Robertson and Damaso Marte were warming
up. I’d be very surprised if he comes out for the seventh.

7:58 p.m.
Posada pinch-hitting and gets a loud ovation. Burnett’s night is done.
He gave it a ride to deep left center before Gomez caught it on the
warning track.

8 p.m. Meanwhile, it’ll be Joba Time in the seventh.

8:06 p.m. Huge spot for Mark Teixeira here. He’s 0-for-6 in the Division Series.

8:11 p.m.
Make that 0-for-7. Teixeira teases a grand slam and pops a 3-2 pitch to
left for the second out. What do you know? Huge spot for A-Rod here.

arod_250_100909.jpg8:13 p.m.
Mr. October Version 2009 delivers: RBI single to left scores Jeter,
ties the game at one and chases Blackburn. A-Rod is 3-for-7 with three
RBIs in the ALDS.

8:21 p.m. Twins 3B Matt Tolbert with a strained left oblique, day-to-day.

8:31 p.m.
Here’s why Phil Coke was brought in with two out in the seventh:
Lefties hit .195 against him and Jason Kubel was 0-for-4 with two
strikeouts. Make that 0-5, 3 Ks.

8:47 p.m. A Tweet from
WFAN’s Sweeny Murti: “I think this is setting up beautifully for a
Posada walkoff Bot 10, and AJ giving him a pie!”

8:54 p.m.
Brendan Harris, yes Brendan Harris, is 2-for-2 with an RBI as an injury
replacement. His hit-and-run single has runners on the corners with two
out and Hughes in trouble.

8:57 p.m. Ridiculous. The Twins grab the lead on a walk and two singles by their 7-8-9 hitters all with two out.

9:02 p.m. There’s hope Yankees fans: 15 walk-off wins and 28 in their last at-bat, including those three games in May.

9:09 p.m. Great play by Harris. He’s supposed to beat you with his glove, not his bat.

9:28 p.m. Teixeira ends an 0-for-7 slump by leading off the ninth with a single. A-Rod at the plate. Very interesting ….

arod_250_game_100909.jpg9:32 p.m. A picture and decibel levels are worth thousands of words. TBS cameras had a shot of Ron Gardenhire with a look that read, “You have got to be kidding me.” That run off Rivera in the eighth looms large, but the Yankees have new life.

9:49 p.m. Runners on the corners in the 10th. This is what happens when you walk the No. 9 hitter with two out.

9:52 p.m. Alfredo Aceves dodges a bullet. Mauer leads off the 11th if it gets that far.

10:03 p.m. Nathan throwing error, Brett Gardner hesitates, then takes off, still beats the throw to third. Unbelievable. Now they’re putting Jeter on to set up the double play. Gardy’s also pulling Nathan for the left-hander, Jose Mijares.

10:09 p.m. Buzzkill.

10:19 p.m. Twins in business because Damaso Marte stinks, but it could have been worse. Left field umpire Phil Cuzzi completely blew a call that would have given Mauer a leadoff double.

10:22 p.m. Bases loaded and nobody out, but Twins would have had the lead if not for Cuzzi.

10:26 p.m. After Delmon Young lined out to first, Gomez grounded to Teixeira, who threw to home for the force, and Harris flied out to center. Awesome performance by David Robertson, though he has Cuzzi to thank.

10:30 p.m. Teixeira walk-off HR ends an epic. He’ll get his first taste of pie. Back later with so much more.

14 Comments

Burnett getting wild now. He has way to much movement on his pitches.

WOW. Does the Captain have eyes in the back of his head? How did he know Gomez over ran 2nd? Great play

It’s October … Jeter Time!

Merriwether is making it impossible to know where to hit! He is all over the place and the twins got much more favorable calls. How did this guy make it to the playoffs…just AWFUL! And posada and hughes calling a curveball? Go after them!

Wow. What is the deal with the home plate umpire? There is no way to argue that he is calling the same strike zone for both teams. Two perfect pitches to start off the second and third batter Joba faces and then to see the strikes that Minnesota has been getting all night. Finally Punto just now gets a little of the crap the Yankees have been dealing with all night. It’s not even, not by a long shot…

How does this umpire get to call a playoff game behind the plate??? He’s awful.

Totally agree. Chuck Meriwether has been brutal. – Jon

And Hughes had his third out without a run scoring if the umpire didn’t completely blow it. We can’t even work the pitch count tonight because ever damn pitch within a foot of the plate is a strike. Yet, we can’t even get the obvious ones.

The umpire has played a major role tonight in favor of the Twins. I am anxious to hear what the Yes guys/gals have to say in the post game. Someone has got to point this out.

Yanks look flat…fans havent’ shown any sign of life…hardly a playoff atmosphere. Walk off is always a possibility with this team, but its a very uncomfortable feeling right now.
Totally agree with the strike zone comments!

I know that the Twins left many on the bases, but just one question……How much did the Yankees have to pay the umpire in left field to totally blow the call??????? Is he related to Jeffrey Mairer??

Does anyone else think the Yanks should have run the squeeze with Damon at the plate in the 10th?

The squeeze was the first thing my husband said when Jeter walked. Tough call.

Yes, the Yanks caught a break on that double. It just reiterates my comments about the home plate umpire. And especially after the calls last night in the Sox game.

What an amazing win!!!!! Best all season!!! How can you not love our pick ups this year?? 🙂

What a Maui..wowie as we say in Hawaii!!! Amazing and somehow we knew Arod was poised this year to enter Rod-zilla and Teix-zuki(actually godzuki…godzilla’s sidekick).

Chuck Merriweather has been and still is a miserable umpire. I always dread it when he does Yankee games, particularly when he’s behind the plate. How he merits being a playoff umpire is beyond me. Apparently, there is no real monitoring of umpires performances or he would be out of a job.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to October baseball.

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