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Key pitching move backfires on Girardi

The SportsXchange

The numbers backed up Joe Girardi's decision to bring in Boone Logan to face Denard Span with the bases loaded and two out in the seventh inning Tuesday night.

Logan's performance, however, opened up the New York Yankees manager to plenty of second-guessing.

Logan entered the game with the Yankees leading the Twins by two runs after Phil Hughes had held Minnesota to one run over the first 6 2/3 innings. Hughes, who had loaded the bases with one out, struck out Pedro Florimon to move one out from an escape, but Girardi turned to Logan to face Span, who was 0-for-5 lifetime against the left-handed reliever.

"The inning was so long and he had to work so hard, and Boonie had done a good job against Span in his career," Girardi said, referring to the fact that Hughes had already thrown 26 pitches in the seventh. "I just decided to go there."

Logan threw a wild slider that got past catcher Russell Martin, scoring a run and advancing the runners to second and third. Then Span, who entered the game hitting .301 against left-handers this season, hit a two-run double to right-center, putting the Twins ahead 4-3. Joe Mauer followed with an RBI single for an insurance run.

Minnesota held on for a 5-4 win, and the Yankees failed to gain ground on the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East race. New York is still 1 1/2 games in front.

"I didn't feel like I was locating it well tonight," Logan said of his slider, the pitch Span hit. "If I'm going to get beat, I want to get beat off my best pitch. I don't have any answers. I just had a bad night."

Logan leads the American League with 77 appearances, and while his fastball had good life on it, Martin admitted that fatigue might be setting in for the southpaw and his fellow relievers.

"We need a couple blowouts so we can get our guys some rest," Martin said. "We're getting to that time in the season where everybody in the league is feeling it, but especially guys like Boone who have thrown a tremendous amount. They can definitely use a couple days where we score more than enough runs."
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