Heading into the top of the ninth, the Yankees held a 2-1 lead. By the time the ninth inning was over, the Twins led 7-2. Yes, David Robertson blew the save and the rest of the bullpen (minus Dellin Betances and Adam Warren) had a bad day. But that doesn't change the fact that the lineup could only manage two runs against Phil Hughes. And as bad as the ninth inning went, the offensive performance in the other eight also deserve a major portion of the blame for this 7-2 loss to Minnesota.
The Twins opened the game's scoring in the top of the third. Aaron Hicks led off the inning with a single. Brian Dozier then grounded out on a close play at first. The Twins challenged the out call but it was upheld. However, the ground out did move Hicks to second. Joe Mauer then popped one up for the second out. Chase Whitley was nearly out of the inning, but Trevor Plouffe singled to score Hicks, making it 1-0 Twins.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Yankees finally strung together some hits against Hughes. Brett Gardner led off the inning with a triple after Oswaldo Arcia couldn't make a catch against the wall. Derek Jeter came up next and he singled home Gardner to tie the game at one. Jacoby Ellsbury then singled as well, putting two on with nobody out. Hughes then walked Brian McCann to load the bases. Yangervis Solarte popped out, which didn't help, but Ichiro Suzuki's sac fly did. Jeter tagged up and scored, giving the Yankees a 2-1 lead. Hughes struck out Brian Roberts to get out of the inning, but the Yankees now had a lead.
After Whitley pitched a scoreless fifth inning, he would exit the game. Whitley went five innings, allowing one run on five hits while striking out five. Betances came in for Whitley in the sixth and continued to look like his dominant self. Betances went two innings, striking out five of the six batters he faced. After the Yankees again failed to score in the seventh, Warren came in and pitched a scoreless eighth inning.
The Yankees couldn't add to their score in the eighth, meaning that on his return to the Stadium, Hughes threw eighth innings allowing just two runs. When he left after the eighth, Hughes was still on the hook for the loss, but it was very different from the last couple times we saw Phil in the Bronx.
Robertson came in to try and finish off the game in the ninth. On the first pitch Robertson threw, Josh Willingham hit a home run over the left field wall. The game was suddenly tied at two. Robertson struck out two to nearly get out of the inning, but he also issued two walks. With two outs, Dozier then doubled, scoring a run and giving the Twins the lead. The Yankees then opted to intentionally walk Mauer to get to Eduardo Nunez and take Robertson out of the game. Matt Daley came in and immediately allowed a two-run double to Nunez. After just one pitch, Daley was taken out. Matt Thornton then came in and immediately allowed a two-run single to Arcia. Thornton finally got the third out of the inning, but the Twins had opened up a 7-2 lead. The Yankees went down in order in the bottom of the ninth as the Twins pulled out a 7-2 win.
Tomorrow, The Yankees and Mariners will make up the rained-out game from a few weeks ago. David Phelps and Felix Hernandez will be your starters and first pitch is at 7:05 eastern.