NEW YORK - From operating tables in Manhattan to baseball stadiums in the Bronx, Tuesday was a rough night for the Twins in New York.
They learned early in the evening that righthander Scott Baker needed more extensive surgery than they hoped for. Then they were ejected while being rejected 8-3 by the Yankees as lefthander Francisco Liriano let them down once again.
Liriano was knocked out in the third inning after 11 Yankees reached base on his watch. He fell behind hitters again and couldn't figure out plate umpire Greg Gibson's strike zone.
He wasn't the only one.
With a runner on in the third inning, Denard Span took a called strike and started bantering with Gibson. He appeared to continue to speak as he stepped back in the batter's box.
Microphones near home plate clearly caught Span saying, "I didn't disrespect you." There were more exchanges before Gibson yelled, "That's it! You're outta here!"
It was Span's third ejection of his career.
"I just let him get under my skin a little bit,'' Span said. "He just raised his voice at me and I didn't take too kindly to it. I felt like I didn't disrespect him or anything that warranted his attitude with me. It just escalated; it went from Level 1 to Level 10 in like two seconds."
Span had more words with Gibson before he left the field as manager Ron Gardenhire and third base coach Steve Liddle tried to step in.
Gardenhire picked up where Span left off, and soon was tossed for the 61st time in his career.
"I'm not going to tell you anything because I'm not going to pay any more money,'' said Gardenhire, who is now tied with Detroit's Jim Leyland for the most ejections by active managers. "He got ejected, then I said my piece. I got dejected and then ejected."
Clete Thomas replaced Span at the plate and doubled over Brett Gardner's head in left to drive in Alexi Casilla and give the Twins a 2-1 lead. Jamey Carroll followed with an RBI single, and the Twins led 3-1 against longtime nemesis CC Sabathia.
But Liriano had already danced out of trouble in the first two innings -- and the Yankees were licking their chops.
Alex Rodriguez lined out to open the third -- the last batter Liriano retired. A run scored on Abraham Nunez's infield single. Chris Stewart added a two-run single to give New York a 4-3 lead and send Liriano to the showers. Derek Jeter's sacrifice fly gave the Yankees a 5-3 lead and closed the ugly-looking book on Liriano's night: 2 1/3 innings, seven hits, five earned runs, four walks and two strikeouts. New York led 5-3 and was never challenged again.
Liriano has given up five earned runs in all three of his outings this season. At 0-3 with a 11.91 ERA, he might be the most disappointing Twins player during the opening weeks. They need him to soften the blow of losing Baker, who was to have flexor tendon surgery on Tuesday when it was determined that he needed Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery elbow as well.
With time on his hands, Gardenhire sat down with Liriano for a talk in the clubhouse after he was lifted.
"Right now he's pressing," Gardenhire said. "He wants to do well for the team and for the organization. I told him the only way you are going to do that is by having fun playing this game."