Monday, June 06, 2005

Brown, Team Implode In Sixth

For five innings at The Metrodome, Kevin Brown shutdown the Twins. But it all fell apart in the sixth for "Punch Wall" and teammates in a 9-3 loss.

Staked to a 2-0 lead thanks to Robinson Cano's third dinger in the first and a Jason Giambi RBI single, Brown seemed to be on his way to win number five on the season. That quickly changed.

It started when the sinkerballer lost control with one out, hitting two batters in the Twins five-run inning. After plunking Torii Hunter and allowing a single to Jacques Jones to put runners on the corners, Brown ran into some awful luck. With Matt LeCroy sending a deep drive to right field, Gary Sheffield couldn't haul in the ball on the warning track. Instead of being a two out sac fly, it went for a runscoring double. After Michael Cuddyer was intentionally walked to load the bases, Brown forced in the tying run when he hit Mike Redmond. A batter later, rookie shortstop Luis Rodriguez singled home LeCroy for the go-ahead run knocking out the Yankee starter.

With Tanyon Sturtze on in relief, the Twins caught the Yanks napping when Michael Ryan squeezed home Cuddyer. Sturtze's hurried throw got away from Jorge Posada. By the time the inning was out, Brent Abernathy had plated the fifth run on a sac fly.

The damage was done. Somehow, a game which seemed in control had gotten away. That sums up the Bombers' season. Anything that can go wrong does.

"I don't think anybody ever walks out on the field and thinks, 'Maybe I'll walk out and lose,''' Brown remarked afterwards. "That's not your plan.''

The Yanks did make it interesting in the eighth when Hideki Matsui laced an RBI single that scored Cano to cut the lead to 5-3. But with two runners on and none out, MVP candidate Alex Rodriguez grounded into a fielder's choice, Giambi flied out to center and Posada was robbed of a base hit by reliever Jesse Crain to end the threat.

With Paul "BP" Quantrill on in the bottom of the frame, the Twins took advantage scoring four times with two outs to put the game away.

Just how predictable was this defeat. Entering the game, the Yankees were 0-19 when they scored three runs-or-less. They now are a major league worst 0-20 in those games.

The starting rotation now has a 4.81 ERA, ranking 11th in the AL. Unless that changes, it's going to be a long, hot summer for the ball club and Joe Torre's staff.

Derek Jeter sat out his second straight game with a headcold.

The Yanks (28-28) have now lost seven of eight and are just 1-5 on this 12-game road trip through the central time zone. They travel to Milwaukee (26-30) tonight for a three-game set. Randy Johnson (5-4, 3.92 ERA) opposes Doug Davis (7-5, 3.62 ERA) in Game One, Carl Pavano (4-4, 4.50) faces Ben Sheets (1-5, 4.34) in Game Two and Mike Mussina (5-4, 4.32) takes on Chris Capuano (5-4, 3.01) in Game Three.

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