Mark Teixeira launches two-run bomb, Yanks lead again

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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.

Orioles designate Pedro Alvarez for assignment

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The Baltimore Orioles are terrible and going nowhere fast, so they decided to do some shuffling of the decks today.

One part of that was to called up catcher Caleb Joseph, which was the corresponding move to sending down Chance Sisco the other day. Joseph will now be big league teammates with brother Corban. Aww.

Another thing they did was to purchase the contract of Steve Wilkerson from Triple-A Norfolk. He’s a utility guy who has been swinging a hot bat after getting a late start to the season due to a 50-game drug suspension. Good for him, but that’s bad news for Pedro Alvarez, who was designated for assignment in the corresponding move.

Alvarez, 31, started the season well but has been atrocious for most of it. His line on the year is .180/.283/.414 with eight homers, but he’s been far worse than that for over a month. The 2013 NL home run champ will now go through waivers and, at the end of that process, likely have to choose between free agency or a trip to Norfolk. And, given that it’s the worst team in baseball sending him packing, there’s a good chance that it could be the end of the big league road for him.