Twins continue to miss opportunities

Published 9:32 pm Saturday, July 13, 2013

Minnesota falls to New York Yankees, loses 7 of last 8 games


NEW YORK — Another opportunity wasted, Justin Morneau slammed his bat on home plate and gave his batting helmet a serious toss.

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Enough is enough, he thought.

Morneau was the third straight player to strike out against Boone Logan with two on in the seventh inning, the Minnesota Twins’ last chance in a 2-0 loss to the New York Yankees on a rainy Friday night.

“That’s probably the furthest I’ve ever gone on the field, think it was just frustration boiling over, frustration of the road trip,” he said. “Just another at-bat with runners in scoring position, what we’ve been struggling with as a team.”

The Twins wasted ample opportunities, going 0 for 12 with runners in scoring position, in losing their seventh in eight games on a 10-game road trip and for the 12th time in 13 overall.

Minnesota had most of the chances before the rain came in the bottom of the fourth inning, putting six runners on against Hiroki Kuroda (8-6) but came up empty. The Twins had two more on base in the fifth and failed again.

“We had opportunities and we put men out there just didn’t come up with any big hits again, kinda what our storyline’s been,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Get them out there and missed opportunities.”

Preston Claiborne took over for Kuroda in the sixth inning and had New York’s first 1-2-3 inning. But he gave up hits to Pedro Florimon and Brian Dozier to start the seventh and yielded to left-hander Logan.

With the rain falling heavily again, Logan struck out Chris Parmelee. He threw a wild pitch that moved the runners up before fanning Joe Mauer, and during Morneau’s at-bat threw another ball to the backstop but Florimon failed to score, even after Chris Stewart flipped the slick ball past Logan, rushing to cover home.

“Boone Logan did an outstanding job,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

After being called out by third base umpire on Kerwin Danley on a checked-swing strike three, Morneau tossed his gear. Plate umpire Lance Barksdale angrily pointed to the bat and Morneau picked it up.

“First time I’ve ever thrown my helmet on the field,” Morneau said. “Not too happy with that but sometimes people do things out of character, I guess.”

The Yankees took advantage when Scott Diamond didn’t return after the 73-minute rain delay. The Yankees scored twice in the fifth against Ryan Pressly (2-2) and Brian Duensing. Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano had RBI singles to put New York up for good.

“Even with the elements, and the atmosphere, I felt like I was focused in pretty well,” said Diamond, who gave up one hit in 3 1-3 innings.

The Yankees improved to 31-7 against Minnesota in New York since 2002. New York swept the Twins in four straight in Minnesota from July 1-4 and has won nine of 12 overall.

Gardenhire talked before the game about not allowing Cano to beat him after the All-Star drove in nine runs during the sweep.

“Bounce it. Please bounce it,” Gardenhire said.

The first two times up, the plan worked. Diamond walked Cano. But after the rain, with Brian Duensing on the mound, Cano lined a single up the middle to score the Yankees’ second run of the fifth inning.

David Robertson was perfect in the eighth and Mariano Rivera finished off the eight-hitter for his 30th save.