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The Twins Beat

La Velle E. Neal III and Phil Miller report on the Twins from wherever they make news

Postgame: Garcia looked good, if different, to former Twins teammates

    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.

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    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.”

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    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.

 

Six weeks later, Twins finally get to watch Garcia pitch again

    NEW YORK — Jaime Garcia was a Twin for six days and a Yankee for six weeks, but he’s still got more wins with Minnesota than New York. The Twins would like to keep that record intact tonight in Yankee Stadium.

    Garcia limited the A’s to three runs over 8 1/3 innings in Oakland in his lone start for the Twins after being acquired from Atlanta on July 24, but he hasn’t completed six innings since that day. In six starts since the Twins moved him the day before the trade deadline, Garcia has given up 19 runs (15 earned) in 29 1/3 innings, a 4.60 ERA. The Yankees are 3-3 in Garcia’s starts, though Garcia himself hasn’t been credited with one.

    The Garcia Era feels like a long time ago now, doesn’t it? “I didn’t get to know Jaime all that well,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever been a part of something that was so short-lived.”

    The Twins, losers of six of their last eight games in the Bronx, are four games behind New York, so anything short of a sweep won’t do much to their chances of catching the Yankees for the first wild card spot. Should the Twins hold on — they’re two games up on the Angels, but play 10 of their final 13 on the road, including six games against the Yankees and Indians — they would be back here two weeks from Tuesday for the wild-card game.

    Molitor believes playing this series so close to that potential game might be beneficial. And he’s eager to see how his young team plays under a little extra pressure. These games, he said, will “be a little emotionally charged.”

     “I want to see how some of these guys respond. It’s always a little different here,” Molitor said. “You try to keep it as normal as you can, you try to be the same, but I’ve played here in October. It’s just got a different feel.”

    The Twins will send their ace, Ervin Santana, to the mound, just as they will if there is a playoff game on Oct. 3. My colleagues covering the Yankees say there seems to be no particular emphasis on this series for the home team, but the Twins definitely feel it.

    Here are the lineups for Game 1, both of which feature a young shortstop with surprising power batting cleanup:

TWINS

 

Dozier 2B

Mauer 1B

Buxton CF

Polanco SS

Rosario RF

Escobar 3B

Grossman DH

J. Castro C

Adrianza LF

 

Santana RHP

 

YANKEES

 

Gardner LF

Judge RF

Sanchez C

Gregorius SS

Headley DH

S. Castro 2B

Ellsbury CF

Frazier 3B

Bird 1B

 

Garcia LHP

Final, 9/18 R H E
Minnesota 78-72 1 4 2
NY Yankees 83-67 2 8 1

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