Sunday, June 26, 2016

Duffey stifles Yanks as Twins swat 6 HRs

Tyler Duffey carried a perfect game into the sixth inning, supported by consecutive home runs off the bats of Brian DozierTrevor Plouffe and Max Kepler, leading the Twins to a 7-1 victory over the Yankees on Sunday at Yankee Stadium.
"First time through, I was just trying to get the ball over the plate," said Duffey, who allowed only two hits through eight innings. "Just getting into the fourth, sixth, seventh innings, and then as I came along, I started throwing more breaking balls, started feeling better than I had. It's a lot of positives for me today, and obviously we won the game, which is the ultimate positive."
Duffey retired the first 17 batters he faced before Aaron Hicks' two-out double in the sixth, then limited the Yankees to one run over eight innings, striking out eight without a walk to help the Twins snap a three-game skid and avert a potential series sweep.
"That ball Hicks hit, it was just a changeup that I left over the middle," Duffey said. "It was a pitch that I had located earlier in the game, swung through. It was one of those things where I knew what was going on the whole time. I knew I had to get the next guy out, so I just rolled with it and had to keep pitching."
The Twins trio slugged its shots in the sixth inning off Yankees starter Nathan Eovaldi; Dozier clubbed a two-run blast before Plouffe and Kepler followed with solo shots. Danny Santana also hit a third-inning home run off Eovaldi, who surrendered five runs and six hits over six innings.
Minnesota's power display continued against Yankees relievers, with Eduardo Nunezhomering off Luis Cessa in the seventh, and Juan Centeno belted the Twins' sixth of the game in the ninth inning off Kirby Yates.
Duffey dominates: The 25-year-old was masterful from early on with sharp bite on his breaking ball and only seemed to get better as the game wore on through 5 2/3 innings of perfection before yielding the double to Hicks. Duffey showed no signs of his recent streak of extended struggles, throwing a season-high eight innings, allowing a season-low two hits and finishing his day by striking out the side in the eighth.
"My fastball location was really good today," Duffey said. "That was the big difference, if anything. Just getting ahead 0-1, 0-2 just on fastballs and I didn't even throw the off-speed until I needed it. You've just got to get ahead and stay ahead." More >
Nate, not so nasty: Eovaldi became the first Yankees pitcher since Chase Wright in 2007 to surrender at least three consecutive homers, working into trouble after losing Joe Mauer to a two-out walk in the sixth. Eovaldi has surrendered 17 home runs already this year, establishing a career high. He also has permitted at least four earned runs in each of his last five starts, swelling his ERA from 3.71 to 5.19.
"I think it was just that two-out walk I had to Mauer," Eovaldi said. "I've got to be able to turn the page and continue to attack. … I just have to do a better job of executing in that situation and turning the page and continue to attack." More >
Thrice as nice: It didn't matter what Eovaldi threw at the Twins in the sixth -- he just couldn't find a way to keep them in the park. Dozier got the fireworks started with a two-run homer to left on a splitter, followed by Plouffe taking a hanging slider out to left and Kepler turning on a curveball and sending it into the right-field bleachers. It was Minnesota's first time achieving the feat since Aug. 3, 2014, when they hit three in a row against the White Sox. More >
"This park is definitely home run-friendly," said Twins manager Paul Molitor. "Santana, Kepler, Teixeira probably [aren't home runs] in Minnesota. It is what it is. Every park's got its own little quirks, and this one is home run-friendly, especially to right field."
Long-awaited Tex message: Teixeira's eighth-inning home run marked his fourth of the season and his first since April 13 at Toronto, a span of 147 at-bats which represented the longest homerless drought of his career. Teixeira also made a sharp diving stop at first base to rob Kepler of a fourth-inning hit, offering some hope that the Yankees may be regaining his presence on both sides of the ball following last year's All-Star campaign.
"That was important for me, to show I can still do it," Teixeira said. "Obviously it's been a tough season for me. I feel like I'm taking good swings, and I got a good result on the last at-bat there." More >
"As I walked past him, I said to him, 'Why couldn't you just swing through that one like the first one?'" -- Duffey to Hicks, his former teammate, following a double that broke up the perfect-game bid
"I think we got to the fifth inning and I pulled the old 'For the Love of the Game.' I looked up, and I was like, 'Has anybody been on base?' I was like, 'I don't think anybody's gotten on base!' I might have jinxed it myself." -- Dozier
"I knew [what's going on]. I've got a scoreboard in front of me."-- Centeno, the Twins catcher
Twins: Following a scheduled off-day on Monday, the Twins will open a three-game series in Chicago against the White Sox in a battle between the two bottom teams in the American League Central. Kyle Gibson (0-5, 6.05 ERA) will get the start Tuesday (7:10 p.m. CT) against lefty Jose Quintana (5-7, 3.04), who was one of the Majors' best pitchers through May before struggling through two of his June starts.
Yankees: The Yankees will open a four-game series with the AL's best club, the Rangers, on Monday (7:05 p.m. ET) at Yankee Stadium. Right-hander Ivan Nova (5-5, 5.18) permitted a season-high six runs (five earned) his last time out against the Rockies, something he'll try to correct when he faces right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez (3-6, 5.04 at Triple-A Round Rock).

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