With Joe Mauer in right field, everything seemed different about the Twins on Thursday, except the way they played against the Yankees.
Facing numerous roster issues, manager Ron Gardenhire used a lineup that bore little resemblance to the one used last October, but the results were more of the same.
The Twins scored four runs against CC Sabathia, but the Yankees smashed three homers off Brian Duensing and added two insurance runs off reliever Matt Capps in an 8-4 victory at Target Field.
Counting the postseason, the Twins are 19-60 against the Yankees under Gardenhire, who didn't make it through the first inning before getting ejected this time. Plate umpire Brian O'Nora tossed Gardenhire for arguing after the umpires used video replay to overturn Justin Morneau's two-run homer in the first inning, ruling it a foul ball.
First base umpire Jim Wolf originally ruled it a home run.
"In my opinion, if one replay shows it could be fair and one replay shows it could be foul, no one really is positive, how the hell do you change it?" Gardenhire said. "I could show you three views where the ball disappears behind the pole; it depends on the camera angle."
Had the call not been overturned, the Twins could have put the Yankees in a deeper hole, but the Bombers always seem to climb out anyway.
"Seen it too many times," Gardenhire said. "Walk people, miss plays and you give them extra outs, and it always ends up hurting you."
The Twins returned to 15 games under .500, at 54-69, but at least Mauer looked comfortable in right field, giving him another position to play along with catcher and first base.
He said he could count on both hands how many times he'd ever played in the outfield, and he hadn't done it since signing with the Twins out of Cretin-Derham Hall.
"It's just been an interesting year," Mauer said. "Let's hopefully get through today, and we can get some guys in here, and hopefully it's just a one-time deal."
Gardenhire had few other choices with Denard Span on the disabled list, Michael Cuddyer out because of an injured neck and Jason Kubel tending to a family matter.
The Twins promoted infielder Luke Hughes from Class AAA Rochester on Wednesday, but he went to the wrong gate Thursday morning and missed his flight.
Gardenhire could have used Trevor Plouffe in right field, but without Hughes, and with Matt Tolbert dealing with a sore wrist, the Twins had no one else to play second base. So Plouffe went to second, and Mauer went to right field, using one of Kubel's gloves.
Hughes finally appeared as a pinch hitter in the ninth and struck out.
Mauer caught two fly balls and made two strong throws in the second inning. He went 1-for-3 with a sacrifice fly.
"He looked great on TV," Gardenhire said after a night spent watching the game from his office.