X

Twins-Yankees: Mark Teixeira and Co. Steal Game Two from Minnesota

Adam BernacchioAnalyst IIIOctober 10, 2009

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 09:  Mark Teixeira #25 of the New York Yankees celebrates with Tony Pena aftering hitting a walk off home run in the eleventh inning against the Minnesota Twins in Game Two of the ALDS during the 2009 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 9, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

The Minnesota Twins begged the New York Yankees to win Game Two of their American League Division Series last night at Yankee Stadium, and the Yankees took them up on their offer.

The Yankees beat the Twins last night, 4-3 in 11 innings, on a walk-off home run by Mark Teixeira to give the Bronx Bombers a two-games-to-none advantage in their best-of-five series.

It’s very rare that the winning home run isn’t the biggest story of the game. But in this game, Teixeira’s home run wasn’t even close to being the biggest story of this game. The biggest story of this game was how the Twins just imploded in every facet.

I am starting to wonder if the Twins and St. Louis Cardinals have a bet going on to see who can be more inept during the playoffs.

First, let’s start with Carlos Gomez’s awful, awful baserunning in the top of the fourth. With two outs, Delmon Young on second, and Gomez on first, Matt Tolbert lined a single to right-centerfield.

As Young was attempting to score, Gomez rounded second, slipped, and was tagged out before Young touched home plate. The fact that Gomez slipped wasn’t the bad play–it could happen to anyone.

The blunder Gomez made was that when he slipped and was caught in no man’s land, he should have gotten in a run-down to ensure that Young would score. It was a horrible play that cost the Twins an ever so valuable run.

Second, there was the Twins pitching. I am not talking about Nick Blackburn because he was outstanding last night. I am talking about the Joe Nathan implosion that took place in the ninth.

The Twins had that game won. Up 3-1 going into the ninth and with Joe Nathan on the mound, you have to win that game. Nathan had a meltdown that would have made Trevor Hoffman proud.

Now facing Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, and Hideki Matsui in hopes of closing out a game is no easy task. But if you are supposed to be one of the best closers in the game, you have to get it down with a two run lead.

Nathan allowed a leadoff single to Teixeira and then came the Rodriguez at-bat. Nathan and Mauer’s approach to A-Rod made no sense. Nathan fell behind the count 3-0 and it looked like they were pitching around him.

At 3-0 to A-Rod, the battle is lost. I know it is a cardinal sin to put the winning run on base, but in that spot you have to do it. Nathan then proceeds to throw such a get-me-over fastball, that I am a surprised A-Rod didn’t come out of his shoes.

Okay, now the count is 3-1. At this point, you throw a cutter or something soft away and hope that you can use Arod’s aggressiveness against him. Maybe he will roll one over to short or foul it off to get the count to 3-2.

So what does Nathan decide to do? He throws a flat, mediocre fastball right down the middle of the plate.

Boom,  home run, and the game is tied at three.

Nathan had another meltdown again in the 10th when tried to pick off Brett Gardner at second base. Nathan threw the ball into centerfield and the Yankees had a runner on third with just one out.

After a Derek Jeter intentional walk, Nathan got Johnny Damon to line weakly to Orlando Cabrera. For some reason Gardner forgot to freeze on the linedrive and got doubled up. It was a terrible baserunning play by Gardner.

Third and finally for the Twins, there situational hitting was horrific in this game. The Twins left 17 men on base last night—17!!! The icing on the cake was in the 11th inning.

The Twins had bases loaded and noboby out and DIDN’T SCORE! Young lined out to Teixeira, Gomez ground into a force out, and Brendan Harris flied out to center.

After watching his pathetic AB in that frame, I have come to the conclusion that Gomez is maybe the worst player in baseball. He has no skills outside of running. He would make for a perfect wide receiver on the Oakland Raiders.

Of course the biggest story of the top of the 11th besides the Twins not scoring was the inexcusable missed call by left field umpire Phil Cuzzi. Joe Mauer fit a flyball down the left field line that dropped about three feet in fair territory, but was called foul.

Mauer would have had a ground-rule double.

However, this was not the reason the Twins lost the game. You got the feeling that even if the Twins scored five runs in that inning, the Yankees would have scored six in the next.

The Twins did everything they could to give this game away. Now, their season is all but over.

Game Three is Sunday at 7:07 p.m. ET.


You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @theghostofmlg.

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.