Yankees-Twins Preview

The Associated Press

On what had a chance to be a special night for the New York Yankees' C.C. Sabathia last week instead turned into a disappointing performance.

A matchup against the Minnesota Twins could help lift his spirits.

Sabathia again goes for career victory No. 200 as he seeks a ninth win in a row over the Twins on Wednesday night at Target Field.

Sabathia (8-6, 4.15 ERA) carried a no-hitter and a three-run lead into the sixth inning Friday at Baltimore before coming undone in a 4-3 defeat. He allowed all four runs in seven innings, dropping to 1-4 with a 5.76 ERA in his last seven road starts.

"It was just everything from the night," he said. "Not being able to hold the lead, and then the ultimate of giving up the lead and giving up the game. It's frustrating. I try not to show my emotions too much, but it happens."

The left-hander has surrendered at least four runs in six of his last eight outings, a stretch during which he's gone 4-3 with a 5.15 ERA.

"I feel like I'm wasting starts," he told MLB's official website. "I'm feeling great and throwing the ball good. I've just not been able to put together a whole start. It's just frustrating."

Sabathia would appear to have a good chance to get back on track against a Twins team he's baffled in recent years. The former Cy Young Award winner has gone 8-0 with a 1.79 ERA in his last nine matchups with Minnesota (36-44), having his way with Justin Morneau (6 for 43), Joe Mauer (6 for 35) and Ryan Doumit (3 for 17). Sabathia has walked six and struck out 46 in his last 53 1-3 innings versus the Twins.

The Yankees (44-39) also have been dominating them, winning 7-3 on Tuesday for their 29th victory in the past 36 meetings. That stretch includes two playoff sweeps, part of New York's 40-13 record versus Minnesota since the start of 2007.

Robinson Cano delivered a three-run shot - his fourth homer in three days - after going deep twice in Monday's 10-4 series-opening win. The All-Star second baseman has recorded five consecutive multihit efforts, going 12 for 21 with eight RBIs and eight runs scored.

Cano has hit .383 with 14 RBIs over his last 15 regular-season games in Minnesota, which has dropped three straight and eight of 11.

The Twins try to regroup behind P.J. Walters (2-4, 6.03), who is 0-4 in five starts after winning his first two following his call-up from the minors in late May. The right-hander has been especially bad in the last three, losing each while allowing 16 runs, 16 hits and nine walks in nine innings.

"We all have games where we struggle, everybody in the league has them," said Walters, who has never faced the Yankees. "In my eyes, it's unacceptable. To the team I'm sure it is, too. I expect to pitch better ... but obviously I've got some things I need to work on and get better at right now."

Mauer, who snapped an 0-for-18 slump with an RBI single in the third inning Tuesday, is hitting .381 in his last 11 games against the Yankees.

The Twins may be counting on him even more after placing Josh Willingham on the disabled list with a medial meniscus tear and bone bruise in his left knee. Willingham leads the team with 10 homers.

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