Twins fall down a familiar hole but forget to quit

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 6, 2011 - 8:30 AM

Like Monday, they trailed early after the starter gave up two homers. But this time, they bounced back to rally in 10.

After finding so many different ways to lose games in the Bronx over the years, the Twins finally flipped the script Tuesday night.

Their 5-4, 10-inning comeback victory at Yankee Stadium was a testament to their resolve because the key moments all seemed to involve a player coming back from disappointment.

First there was Brian Duensing, who gave up two home runs and put the team in a four-run hole in the second inning, just as Scott Baker did a night earlier.

Duensing composed himself, finished the seventh inning, then climbed on an exercise bike in the clubhouse a few minutes before the Twins' eighth-inning rally.

"The more guys that got on base, the more my pace picked up," he said. "You could kind of feel it happening. I felt like the offense was finally starting to get some momentum, and it was really fun to watch."

Duensing's superstition told him he couldn't stop pedaling mid-rally, so he stayed on the bike for about 25 minutes.

Down 4-0 when the inning started, the Twins got walks from Danny Valencia and Jim Thome, and a single by Denard Span to load the bases against the Yankees' $35 million setup man, Rafael Soriano.

When Joe Mauer stepped in with two outs, he was 1-for-13 for the season.

"The one thing I don't worry about is when Joe Mauer's up there in a big situation," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I don't think I've seen him panic."

Mauer walked, forcing home Minnesota's first run. The Yankees replaced Soriano with righthander Dave Robertson, and then the Twins got a rare Yankee Stadium break.

The count was full, allowing the runners to move with the pitch, when Delmon Young hit a bloop double down the right-field line, just past the reach of a diving Nick Swisher. Mauer hustled from first base and narrowly avoided Young's bat as he slid home with the tying run.

"I was trying to get my foot in there, probably running out of gas a little bit," Mauer said.

Matt Capps breezed through two perfect innings with 16 pitches, and then Span opened the 10th with a walk. Tsuyoshi Nishioka fouled off two bunt attempts before calmly lining a single to right field. A bunt might have advanced Span to second, but the single advanced him to third.

"The great thing about it was, like the veteran that [Nishioka] is, he didn't panic," Gardenhire said. "He stepped back, took a deep breath, and then he hit a sharp single to right field."

Mauer followed with an RBI single to right field, and Joe Nathan earned his second save, retiring Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Derek Jeter in a 1-2-3 inning.

It was much easier than Nathan's 31-pitch save Sunday in Toronto, and it was his first in the Bronx since July 27, 2005. He had blown his past two chances, including in Game 2 of the 2009 Division Series, where he gave up a game-tying home run to Alex Rodriguez.

"This isn't an easy place for us to get a win," Nathan said of a team that is 7-31 in the Bronx since 2002. "Any chance we can come out to get a win, we'll take them, whether they're ugly, pretty, comeback or blowout."

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