NEW YORK — Three extras from the first of three games in the Bronx:
The Twins were impressed with Jaime Garcia, the temp they hired for their starting rotation for a week in July. The lefthander, acquired from Atlanta and moved on to New York in the space of six days, struck out nine of the first 13 hitters he faced on Monday, and at least one Twin believes his one start for the Twins was part of the reason.
“When he threw [for the Twins], he threw a lot of fastballs,” said Eddie Rosario, who swung at a slider for strike three in his first at-bat, then singled the next time up. “Now he looks different. A lot of down pitches, a lot of balls. This was a good day for him.”
Garcia looked different in another way, too: The tightly shaved beard he wore as a Twin fell victim to Yankee rules against facial hair.
One valuable lesson for the Twins to remember if they come back here in two weeks: Don’t let the Yankees take a lead to the late innings. They knew that already, but wow, did Aroldis Chapman remind them again Monday.
Chapman, summoned when Dellin Betances walked the bases full in the eighth, struck out Joe Mauer on three pitches — 100, 101 and 102 mph — then got Byron Buxton to fly out.
“We know their bullpen’s tough. It’s a tough team to come from behind on,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “We had an opportunity, got some guys on base, and they kind of took over with velocity from that point forward. … Joe’s as good at anybody at battling, but velocity won out there.”
Chapman threw only one fastball in the strike zone to Eddie Rosario, turning mostly to his slider instead, a fact that Rosario took as a compliment. But he sounded a little disappointed that he didn’t get a chance to turn on one of those 102-mph heaters.
“He’s a tough lefty. Throws 100,” Rosario said, “I want to fight him.”
It was a tough night for Twins catchers, who didn’t foil any of the Yankees’ four stolen base attempts, allowed two wild pitches to get by, and even committed the first instance of catcher’s interference by a Twin in three seasons.
Most of the problems belonged to Jason Castro, though Chris Gimenez gave up a stolen base after Molitor pinch-hit for Castro in the eighth inning in order to have Zack Granite execute a sacrifice bunt.
Castro tipped Jacoby Ellsbury’s bat in the second inning, so Ellsbury was awarded first base. Not since Josmil Pinto did the same to Lonnie Chisenhall on May 8, 2014, had a Twin committed that infraction, but it seems to happen to Ellsbury a lot. Monday’s instance was the 30th catcher’s interference of Ellsbury’s career, extending the major-league record that he already holds.