Twins 5, Yankees 1
Ortiz dominated for eight innings, and his Twins teammates revived their bats against reliever Kyle Farnsworth in a 5-1 victory over the Yankees on Wednesday night.
Alex Rodriguez’s fourth-inning sacrifice fly was the only damage against Ortiz (2-0), who allowed three hits and one walk before yielding to Joe Nathan for the ninth. Ortiz struck out Rodriguez twice and stopped A-Rod’s home run streak at four games.
The Yankees certainly didn’t need the strained left hamstring that forced Mussina from the mound in the third inning.
Nineteen-game winner Chien-Ming Wang already is on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring, pitching prospects Jeff Karstens and Humberto Sanchez are also out, and fifth starter Darrell Rasner left his first outing early because of a blister. Oh, and left fielder Hideki Matsui has a strained left hamstring, too, which sent him to the DL on Sunday.
Manager Joe Torre said Mussina probably will miss his next start, Tuesday against Cleveland, but wasn’t ready to deactivate the 38-year-old just yet.
Still, it didn’t sound good.
“As soon as I heard hamstring,” Torre said, “I knew we had a problem.”
New York’s hitters had their own problems against Ortiz, who started with nine straight outs and effectively mixed his pitches—and their location. A late free-agent addition who commanded a mere $3.1 million for one season during a winter when the market when wild, Ortiz has allowed three runs and eight hits in 15 innings.
The Twins have been impressed by his energy and exuberance, too. He was so excited to take the mound that he left the dugout too early, when the Yankees were still being introduced. Pitching coach Rick Anderson has tried to get Ortiz to relax and avoid the big inning, and he’s been happy with the results.
“That’s exactly what you want to see,” Anderson said.
“I want to keep it going like that,” Ortiz said.
Sean Henn replaced Mussina in the third and will likely take his place in the rotation next week. Henn pitched well for 3 1-3 innings until Michael Cuddyer tied the game in the sixth with an RBI single after Joe Mauer dropped down the first sacrifice bunt of his professional career.
The Twins had only six runs in their past four games, but Farnsworth (0-1) wasn’t nearly as successful. He got only one out in the eighth inning, which began with a walk to Luis Castillo.
“He made his own mess,” Torre said.
Mussina, who broke into the majors with Baltimore in 1991, is 20-5 with a 3.14 in 29 career starts against Minnesota. This one ended much earlier than expected.
After singles by Luis Rodriguez and Alexi Casilla to begin the third, Mussina went to a 2-1 count on Castillo and motioned to the dugout. Pitching coach Ron Guidry visited the mound, followed by a trainer and manager Joe Torre, and Mussina walked off after the brief conference.
“I don’t limp, and I can still touch my toes,” Mussina said afterward. “I felt something the first hitter of the inning. I tried to work through it, but it wasn’t going to happen.”
Closer Mariano Rivera won’t be the only one sporting his usual No. 42 for the Yankees on Sunday when baseball celebrates the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s debut. Derek Jeter, Torre, and 2B Robinson Cano will also wear it. … Twins INF Jeff Cirillo, who was expected to receive regular at-bats as the DH, had surgery Wednesday to repair a medial meniscus cartilage tear in his left knee and is estimated to miss three to six weeks. … Wang threw 45 pitches in batting practice and said he hoped to make the first of what is expected to be two minor league rehabilitation starts within the next week. … Casilla played shortstop for Jason Bartlett, whose streak of 106 consecutive regular-season starts ended. Bartlett is 1-for-20 with five strikeouts and four errors.