Photo courtesy New York Yankees
The Twins must win or be eliminated tonight at Yankee Stadium.
Phil Hughes takes the mound as New York's Game 3 starter, facing a Minnesota club that simply has to feel like it can't do anything to beat its nemesis. Even if the Twins take a lead, the doubts will still be in the back of their minds, because they've lost eight straight postseason games to the Yankees, blowing a lead every single time.
Quite the dilemma for Minnesota's players, who not only need to overcome their demons to win tonight's game, but then would need to do it twice more to win the series. Left-hander Brian Duensing, who was very good this season going 10-3 with a 2.62 ERA as both a starter and reliever, gets the ball in this do-or-die game for the Twins...
AMERICAN LEAGUE DIVISION SERIES — GAME 3
MINNESOTA TWINS at NEW YORK YANKEES
Gametime: 8:37 p.m.
TV: TBS Radio: WTNT-570 AM
Weather: Clear, 59 degrees
9:30 p.m. -- How about this, the Yankees actually have the early lead for a change. A Robinson Cano triple and Jorge Posada single put them up 1-0 in the second. Then a Nick Swisher double and Mark Teixeira single put them up 2-0 in the third. Phil Hughes, meanwhile is cruising along, having allowed one hit while striking out four through four.
CF Denard Span
2B Orlando Hudson
C Joe Mauer
RF Jason Kubel
LF Delmon Young
DH Jim Thome
1B Michael Cuddyer
3B Danny Valencia
SS J.J. Hardy
(P Brian Duensing)
SS Derek Jeter
RF Nick Swisher
1B Mark Teixeira
3B Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
DH Marcus Thames
C Jorge Posada
CF Curtis Granderson
LF Brett Gardner
(P Phil Hughes)
9:36 p.m. -- And now Marcus Thames makes it 4-0 with a two-run blast in the bottom of the fourth. Brian Duensing has not looked good at all. How much longer can Ron Gardenhire stick with him? It may already be too late.
10:29 p.m. -- Looking good for the Yanks, up 5-0 after five innings. One reason for the Twins' woes: They're now 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position in the series. Obviously, that's not going to get it done.
11:19 p.m. -- Don't start piping in Frank Sinatra quite yet, everyone. The Twins are trying to make this interesting. They've already scored once in the top of the eighth (thanks to their first hit with a runner in scoring position in the series) and now they have the bases loaded and knocked Kerry Wood out. It's 6-1 Yankees, with Boone Logan coming out of the pen to face Jason Kubel with one out.
11:26 p.m. -- And Logan and David Robertson save the day for New York. Logan got Kubel to pop out on the first pitch. And Robertson just got Delmon Young to fly out to end the inning. Yankees up 6-1 and are three outs from clinching the series.
11:45 p.m. -- Start spreading the news: Yankees win. Pretty amazing to think they were the wild card (and thus supposedly inferior team in this series). Just totally dominated the Twins in sweeping them away. So the ALCS will open in either Arlington, Texas, or St. Petersburg, Fla., on Friday. Which means New York gets five days off between series, offering Joe Girardi the ability to line up his rotation however he likes. In other words, look for Sabathia, Pettitte and Hughes in that order again, with A.J. Burnett needed for only one game (either Game 4 or 5, depending on if CC pitches on short rest).
Three games tomorrow. The schedule: Rays at Rangers Game 4 (1:07 p.m.), Giants at Braves Game 3 (4:37 p.m.), Phillies at Reds Game 3 (8:07 p.m.).