Jeter Meter at Swelter: Yanks take Game 1
Images courtesy of Keith Allison
Have you ever tried a Whippet? In brief, it's a little cartridge of nitrous oxide that, when inhaled, offers a brief aura of elation, followed by the sensation of feeling like your brain is kinda dead. My apologies for beginning herein with an untoward recreational reference, but after the Twins intoxicating House of Cards win on Tuesday night, Wednesday's 7-2 ALDS loss to the Yankees proved achingly-sobering.
The Boys came out of the gates with impressive pluck, evidencing little malaise after capturing the Central crown just 20 hours prior and arriving at their New York hotel circa 4 a.m. But the inspiring 2-0 lead the Twins took into the bottom of the third proved ultimately short-lived, as Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter pounded a Brain Duensing off-speed offering into the left field stands to notch the score. An inning later, the Yankees took a 3-2 edge off Duensing compliments of a Nick Swisher double and the Pinstripes never looked back.
Span, Cabrera, Mauer and Punto had two hits apiece for the Twins. C.C. Sabathia allowed just one earned run in 6.2 innings of work to get the win. To see the box score, please click here.
Following the raw ecstasy of Tuesday's win over the Tigers, few could blame the Twins for pooping out in the Wednesday's opener. After Hideki "Godzilla" Matsui breathed fire upon a Francisco Liriano fastball to deep center in the 5th, the Twins appeared understandably drained and more off-kilter than starter Sabathia's cap brim, managing just three more hits in the game's last four innings.
Although the final suggests otherwise, opportunity did in fact knock for the Bread Basket, as we actually outhit the Yanks 10-9. Nonetheless, nine runners left on base combined with 1-for-9 hitting with runners in scoring position sealed the Twins' Game 1 fates. The outcome also proved both Trend and Mirage for the Twins, who had led New York in all four of their previous games at the new Yankee Stadium this season before dropping each contest.
Jeter's postseason acumen was in full effect, as well-evidenced by his 2-for-2 line, featuring 3 runs, 2 RBI and 2 walks. The game marked Jeter's 124th career playoff appearance; in contrast, the Twins entire starting lineup presented 55 collective postseason games; late-summer acquisition Orlando Cabrera accounted for 31 of those.
Outcomes aside, it's worthy of brief mention that the Twins continued to make history on Wednesday, appearing in the first playoff game within the confines of the new Yankee Stadium. After the loss, that lil' factoid probably comes across as fulfilling as TBS' constant coverage of Alex Rodriguez' gal, active-dating tart Kate Hudson, who donned an ironically cozy-looking Minnesota vogue in her green-patterned flannel.
The teams get an off day on Thursday (much needed from our vantage) before resuming play in New York for Game 2 on Friday at 5:00 Central. A.J. Burnett (13-9, 4.04 ERA) goes for the Yankees while the Twins start Nick Blackburn (11-11, 4.03 ERA). Please check back tomorrow for game previews of both Game 2, and also for Sunday's Game 3 at the Metrodome (time still TBD). And for some deft, playoff hardball analysis from around the country, please check out the links below:
Read Alt. weekly 2009 Baseball Throwdown coverage for:
St. Louis Cardinals: http://blogs.riverfronttimes.com/therundown
Boston Red Sox: http://www.weeklydig.com/blogs/mlbthrowdown
Minnesota Twins: http://blogs.citypages.com/blotter/baseball/
Colorado Rockies: http://blogs.westword.com/latestword/baseball/
New York Yankees: http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/archives/baseball/
Los Angeles Dodgers: http://blogs.laweekly.com/ladaily/sports/
Anaheim/LA Angels: http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/baseball/
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