NEW YORK -- When he was finally done for the day, Tyler Duffey stalked off the mound, muttering to himself, then yelled out loud, clearly angry about his performance. Another messy, run-filled disaster? A well-deserved ticket back to Rochester?
Nope, he was furious that Mark Teixeira nicked up his shutout, like Dostoyevsky finding a typo in War and Peace.
Duffey, the threat of demotion to the minors surrounding him like the humidity on this 90-degree day, was brilliant in his Yankee Stadium debut Sunday, retiring the first 17 batters he faced, allowing only two hits over eight innings, and snapping a pair of three-game losing streaks — his own and his team’s — with a 7-1 gem over the Yankees.
Duffey’s teammates rallied to his side, too, by smacking six home runs over the arms-length-away walls in this tiny ballpark, the most by a Twins team in nine years. Danny Santana, Eduardo Nunez and Juan Centeno all contributed homers, and in a memorable sixth-inning power display, Brian Dozier, Trevor Plouffe and Max Kepler went (relatively) deep back-to-back-to-back.
It’s the 11th time in franchise history that they’ve hit six or more home runs in a game, and the first since July 6, 2007 at Chicago, when Justin Morneau bashed three, and Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer and Jeff Cirillo also connected.
But it was Duffey’s day that was most thrilling for the Twins, considering his streak of seven straight starts allowing four or more runs. His ERA in June was 9.82, and manager Paul Molitor waited a day after Duffey’s three-inning, six-run disaster last Tuesday before determining that he would get another chance.
Duffey made the most of it, roaring through the Yankees with six ground outs the first time through the order, then mixing in four strikeouts the second time through. Not until former teammate Aaron Hicks lined a double into the right-field corner with two outs in the sixth inning did Duffey allow a runner to reach base.
Duffey allowed two hits over eight innings, and just one run: Teixeira’s solo home run into the right-center seats to lead off the eighth inning. He improved to 3-6 on the season, and trimmed a half-run off his season ERA, to 5.59.