Twins 8, Yankees 2
“I think I’m going to try that tomorrow,” Torii Hunter said.
Koskie and Justin Morneau homered for Minnesota, which won for only fourth time in its last 12 games and handed the Yankees their second straight loss.
The Twins had lost 13 straight regular-season games against the Yankees. Minnesota won the opener of last year’s first-round playoff series, then dropped three in a row.
“Now we’re 1-13,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Does that make us any better against the Yankees? I don’t know.”
It did, however, give Minnesota a little more wiggle room in the standings. The Twins, whose AL Central lead had been cut to one game Saturday, boosted it to 3 1/2 games over second-place Cleveland.
Radke (8-6) won his first game in four starts since July 26. Coming off three straight no-decisions, he improved to 4-9 in his career against the Yankees, lowering his ERA against them from 4.92 ERA to 4.68.
“He threw changeups, curveballs and breaking balls when he needed to and when he wanted to,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said. “It looked like he had command of all his stuff.”
He’s pitched seven-plus innings in four of his last six starts. Against the Yankees, he relied mostly on his changeup.
“It’s an aggressive team over there,” Gardenhire said. “If you keep throwing fastballs, they’re going to whack it pretty good.”
Radke gave up six hits, including a homer to Gary Sheffield, and struck out five. Juan Rincon escaped a bases-loaded, no out jam in the eighth, allowing only Hideki Matsui’s sacrifice fly. J.C. Romero worked a scoreless ninth.
New York starter Javier Vazquez (13-7) gave up nine hits, tying a season high, and six runs in 6 2-3 innings. He allowed two homers, raising his season total to 26, fourth in the AL, one behind teammate Esteban Loaiza.
“I had nothing on the ball,” Vazquez said. “I didn’t think my stuff was good at all.”
Vazquez, who missed his previous scheduled start at Texas because of conjunctivitis, first got into trouble in the second inning when Lew Ford singled to third and advanced to second when third baseman Miguel Cairo’s throw to first sailed high over John Olerud for an error. Koskie then homered into the upper deck.
Koskie entered the game hitting .153 in his career against New York, including .239 this season. His frustrations peaked Sunday against the Indians when he struck out with the bases loaded. Afterward, he went behind the dugout and took a bat to a chair. Since then, he has six hits.
“It was an enough is enough type of thing,” Koskie said.
An inning after Koskie’s homer, Morneau made it 3-0 with an even longer shot. Hunter added an RBI single in the fifth.
Radke got out of a jam in the fourth after Bernie Williams and Matsui hit consecutive singles to put runners at the corners with two outs. But Radke got Jorge Posada swinging on a nasty changeup to end the threat.
Sheffield hit a solo homer off Radke in the sixth. Then, with runners at the corners again in the seventh, Radke got Enrique Wilson to pop out to center.
“He made tough pitches, stayed ahead in the count and he challenged,” Sheffield said. “Even the ball I hit out, it kind of got in on me, but that’s the first ball I was able to get out in front of.”
Hunter nearly added a three-run shot in the seventh, but Matsui jumped and caught the ball just above the top of the left-field wall. Ford followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Stewart, and Koskie added an RBI single off C.J. Nitkowski.
Luis Rivas doubled in the eighth off Scott Proctor and scored on Stewart’s RBI single. Stewart then advanced to second on the throw home, went to third on Jones’ groundout and scored on Hunter’s broken-bat single.
Sheffield’s homer gave him 407 for his career and tied him with Duke Snider at No. 37 on the all-time list. … Vazquez allowed his first stolen base since July 28, 2003, when Hunter stole second in the fifth when the Yankees failed to cover the bag. Entering the game, Vazquez hadn’t allowed a stolen base in 221 1-3 innings over 33 starts. … Derek Jeter extended his hitting streak to 17 games, matching his career high. … Mike Mussina, sidelined since July 6 because of a sore right elbow, is scheduled to start for the Yankees on Wednesday.