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

Postgame: Twins disappointed to lose 3rd straight series

    Three short notes before the Twins take a mid-homestand day off:

    — The Twins sounded more disbelieving than frustrated after Sunday’s loss, like they couldn’t be sure what happened. After all, they won 10-1 on Friday, then took a 5-0 lead on Saturday. They had won eight of their previous 10 home games before this series, so they were riding a little momentum. All of that stopped once Alex Rodriguez started clubbing home runs, three of them on Saturday, the last one tying the game in the ninth on Saturday. Now? “We’re trying to find a way to continue to play well at home and win games,” Paul Molitor said. “That’s the perspective.” Toronto lost on Sunday, so the Twins still hold a three-game cushion for the final wild card spot in the American League, but the Royals, who acquired All-Star pitcher Johnny Cueto on Sunday, have now pulled 7 1/2 games in front in the AL Central, their biggest lead of the year.

    — Torii Hunter and Trevor Plouffe drove in the Twins’ runs on Sunday, continuing what is shaping up as a decent race to be the Twins’ RBI leader. Plouffe, who led the team last season with 80, now has 55 RBIs this season, the same number as Brian Dozier. Hunter has 54, making it a three-man race, with Joe Mauer trailing with 43. Hunter, by the way, has led the Twins in RBIs three times — from 2002-04 — while Mauer, oddly, never has, not even in his MVP season.

    — Ryan O’Rourke surrendered a tremendous home run to Stephen Drew, capping New York’s six-run sixth inning and breaking his personal scoreless streak. O’Rourke had not allowed a run in his first six innings of major-league work, his 0.00 ERA making it look like a mismatch when Drew stepped in with his .186 batting average. Shows you how you can never predict baseball. Now O’Rourke, who pitched a scoreless seventh inning, too, owns a 1.23 ERA. By the way, he was trying to rob home runs during batting practice on Saturday, making some leaping attempts. It was fun, he said Sunday, but he realized he should probably be a little more careful out there. “I really need to stay on my feet,” he said with a laugh.

A-Rod out of the lineup as Twins try to win series vs. Yankees

    Garrett Jones is in the Yankees lineup today, and the Twins have to be happy about that. Not because they get to face a former teammate — Jones came up through the Twins system and played 31 games for Minnesota in 2007 — but because it means Alex Rodriguez isn’t playing.

    Jones will be at first base, moving Mark Teixeira to the designated hitter spot normally occupied by A-Rod. It’s just a regularly scheduled day off for the three-time MVP, but it’s a nice break for the Twins, too, after Rodriguez, who turns 40 tomorrow, blasted three home runs last night and led the Yankees’ biggest comeback in three years.

    Today, Kyle Gibson will try to change his luck, after giving up six runs in five innings in Anaheim last week, and try to change the Twins’ luck, too. Minnesota has never won a series at Target Field against the Yankees, who are 15-5 in this ballpark.

    Joe Mauer and Eddie Rosario are back in the lineup for the Twins, after sitting out Saturday’s loss. They’ll face righthander Nathan Eovaldi, perhaps the least-known nine-game winner in the majors. Eovaldi, acquired with Jones in a trade with Miami last winter, doesn’t usually pitch very long — he’s gotten through seven innings in only four of his 19 starts this season, and hasn’t made it through six innings since June 26 — but he keeps the Yankees close. In fact, he’s left the game with a lead in 16 of those starts, which explains his 9-2 record despite a 4.43 ERA.

    Eovaldi is the hardest-throwing starting pitcher in the game, according to MLB data, averaging 96.1 mph with his fastball this season. I’ll be interested to see if he throws any fastballs to Miguel Sano.

    Here are the lineups for the 1:10 start:

YANKEES

 

Ellsbury CF

Gardner LF

Teixeira DH

McCann C

Beltran RF

Jones 1B

Headley 3B

Gregorius SS

Drew 2B

 

Eovaldi RHP

 

TWINS

 

Dozier 2B

Hunter RF

Mauer 1B

Sano DH

Plouffe 3B

Rosario LF

Nunez SS

Suzuki C

Hicks CF

 

Gibson RHP

Final, 7/26 R H E
NY Yankees 55-42 7 7 0
Minnesota 52-46 2 10 0

Today's Scoreboard

  • Atlanta

    Baltimore

     

    - F

    1

    2

  • Chicago White Sox

    Boston

     

    - F

    10

    8

  • Kansas City

    Cleveland

     

    - F

    9

    4

  • Detroit

    Tampa Bay

     

    - F

    2

    5

  • Colorado

    Chicago Cubs

     

    - F

    8

    9

  • NY Yankees

    Texas

     

    - F

    6

    2

  • Cincinnati

    St. Louis

     

    - F

    1

    4

  • Arizona

    Seattle

     

    - Top 8th

    3

    2

  • Milwaukee

    San Francisco

     

    - Bot 8th

    2

    4

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