Cervelli makes error in 11th, gives Twins win
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli made a throwing error in the 11th inning that allowed Josh Willingham to score from second base, giving the Minnesota Twins a 2-1 victory over New York on Saturday.
With the bases loaded, Trevor Plouffe hit a dribbler to reliever Matt Thornton (1-1). The left-hander flipped it to Cervelli for the forceout at home.
Cervelli then tried for the double play but his throw sailed way over the head of first baseman Mark Teixeira and Willingham raced home with the winning run.
Pinch-hitter Chris Colabello doubled off the right field wall to lead off the 11th, missing a game-ending homer by inches.
The victory snapped a seven-game home skid against the Yankees and was just Minnesota’s fourth win against New York in 17 games at Target Field.
Brian Duensing (2-2) pitched around a Carlos Beltran single in the 11th.
Yankees starter David Phelps had retired 11 straight before Willingham snapped an 0-for-14 skid with a homer to left that tied the game at 1 in the seventh inning.
Before Willingham’s drive, Phelps had only allowed one baserunner to reach second base.
Ichiro Suzuki stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch with two outs in the fifth before coming home on Cervelli’s single to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead.
Yohan Pino held the Yankees to one run over six innings, but Minnesota couldn’t put together enough offense to give the soft-tossing 30-year-old rookie his first win.
After both starters turned in strong outings, two of baseball’s hottest bullpens took over. Coming into Saturday, Minnesota’s relievers had a 1.78 ERA in their last 18 games while New York’s pen had a 1.66 ERA in their last eight.
Cervelli was a late addition to the lineup after regular catcher Brian McCann was scratched with a sore foot.
NOTES: Despite the fact that Derek Jeter has helped knock Minnesota out of the playoffs four times, Twins fans gave the retiring Yankees shortstop a standing ovation during a pregame ceremony. The Twins presented Jeter with the second base bag used during the final game played at the Metrodome. … X-rays on McCann’s sore left foot were negative. … Twins rookie Danny Santana has only taken light swings as he rehabs from a deep bone bruise in his left knee. … Minnesota’s Ricky Nolasco (5-6, 5.49 ERA) faces Hiroki Kuroda (5-6, 4.08) in Sunday’s series finale.
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