The battle of the bullpens has begun, and it’s not looking good for the Twins.
Minnesota right-hander Jesse Crain served up a single to Nick Swisher with one out in the top of the seventh inning and surrendered a towering two-run homer to Mark Teixeira a few pitches later, giving the Yankees a 6-4 lead. Teixeira may be in pain because of a month-long battle with a bruised right thumb, but he hasn’t shown any sign of that yet in this young series.
Crain then allowed a single to Alex Rodriguez before finally being pulled in favor of Brian Fuentes, who retired Robinson Cano and Marcus Thames to end the threat.
The Yankees reached into the bullpen for the bottom of the seventh, matching Boone Logan against the top of the Twins’ lineup. Logan, with an impressive 2.93 regular-season ERA, shut down Orlando Hudson and Denard Span. But he gave up a two-out single to Joe Mauer and Yankees skipper Joe Girardi, known for being quick with the trigger, pulled the left-handed reliever from the game.
Yankees righty David Robertson issued a walk to Delmon Young but struck out big left-hander Jim Thome to close out the seventh. The Yankees lead 6-4. We’re headed to the eighth.
The Marlins announced on Sunday that outfielder Giancarlo Stanton will defend his Home Run Derby title when the city of Miami host’s the All-Star Game festivities next month.
Stanton, 27, defeated Todd Frazier in the finals of last year’s Home Run Derby at Petco Park, hitting 20 home runs to Frazier’s 13. Stanton hit a total of 61 home runs in the Derby. This will be the third Home Run Derby in which Stanton has participated.
Stanton also went 1-for-3 with a solo home run to help the Marlins defeat the Cubs 4-2 on Sunday. He’s now batting .274/.357/.551 with 20 home runs and 49 RBI in 311 plate appearances.
Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks left Sunday’s game against the Rangers after four innings due to soreness in his right oblique. After the game, Hicks said he expects to go on the 10-day disabled list and miss the next three to four weeks, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports.
Hicks was 1-for-2 with a single before departing on Sunday. He entered the game batting .288/.397/.515 with 10 home runs and 37 RBI in 198 plate appearances. It is by far the best season of his career.
Jacoby Ellsbury is on his way back from a concussion, so the Yankees will only have to bridge the gap in center field for a week or two. Mason Williams could draw some starts in center field in the meantime.