David Phelps rebounded from a disastrous outing against the Baltimore Orioles last weekend to propel the Yankees to a four-game sweep over the Twins. The relief duo of Joba Chamberlain and Boone Logan made the game much closer than it needed to be with their struggles, but the team held on to earn their first sweep of an opponent since June 4-6 against the Cleveland Indians.
The Yankees offense that has come alive against the Twins this series got out to a three-run lead in the first inning when Ichiro Suzuki led off the game with a double, moved to third on a Zoilo Almonte single, and came home to score on a sac fly by Robinson Cano. Travis Hafner followed that with a double and Vernon Wells drove in Almonte and Hafner with a single. Hafner and Wells combined to put more runs on the board in the third when Hafner reached base after being plunked and scored after Wells doubled on a ball that got past a diving Oswaldo Arcia. Luis Cruz drove in Wells with a single to extend the Yankees' lead.
Ichiro ended up falling just a home run short of the cycle after he added a two-run triple later in the game. Hafner also had three hits (two for extra bases) and reached base four times. Only Cano, Lyle Overbay, and Austin Romine failed to pick up a hit. In his last three at-bats of the day, Romine failed to get the ball out of the infield and his batting average on the road fell below .029. He needs to be sent down to Triple-A in the worst way because there seems to be very little hope for him at the plate right now.
When Phelps left the game after 6.1 innings, he'd only allowed two runs on eight hits and racked up five strikeouts. The damage done against Phelps came by way of a solo home run by Justin Morneau and an RBI single by Pedro Florimon Unfortunately, Joe Girardi replaced Phelps with Chamberlain, who apparently cannot even be trusted in blowouts. Joba allowed a hit to the only batter he faced, who drove in one of the inherited base runners. Boone Logan came on in relief of Chamberlain and allowed a sac fly to Joe Mauer before inducing a fly ball from Arcia to end the inning. Logan returned again in the 8th inning and gave up the second solo homer of the day to Morneau to lead off the inning and allowed the next two batters to reach base without recording an out. Shawn Kelley, who has allowed only one inherited runner out of 19 to score this season, came on, did his thing, and gave the ball to David Robertson in the ninth.
The Yankees now head back to the Bronx for a three-game set against the Baltimore Orioles this weekend. If you tried to purge it from your memory, the Orioles swept the Yankees last weekend at Camden Yards. Hopefully this sweep against the Twins has woken up the offense enough that they can at least make it a competitive series against the O's. Ivan Nova, Andy Pettitte, and Phil Hughes are the probables on our side for the weekend set.