Rasner 's strong effort helps Yankees win

Staff and Wire Reports

Darrell Rasner gave the New York Yankees one of his better starts of the season and it helped the Yankees stay hot in the American League Eastern Division race.

Rasner, a 1999 Carson High graduate, pitched 5 2/3 strong innings for the Yankees in an 8-2 win over the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium. The surging Yankees moved to within 3 1/2 games of the firsrt place Tampa Bay.

Rasner, who ended up with a no-decision, shut down the Twins through five scoreless innings, allowing just one hit. He yielded a pair of runs in the sixth and it all started with Carlos Gomez's leadoff double to left.

Denard Span followed with an infield dribbler that got past Rasner. Cano barehanded the ball and tossed it over to Jason Giambi. But Giambi couldn't reel in the throw cleanly and it ticked off his glove. Gomez ightailed it home, tying the game at 1.

Rasner almost escaped further trouble in the sixth. But Jason Kubel's hustle paid dividends. He barely beat out a potential 3-6-1 double play, reaching the first-base bag a nanosecond before Rasner gloved Derek Jeter's return throw to Rasner at first, propelling the Twins to a 2-1 advantage. That ended the evening for Rasner, who left to applause.

"It was a close play," said Rasner, charged with two earned runs and four hits in six innings. "All of us have access to instant replay and everything. It was a close play and that's the way it went.

"I wish I could have (stretched) a little bit further," he added. "Then maybe I would have got him."

Bobby Abreu got Rasner off the hook with a two-run shot.

That made a winner of Dave Robertson (2-0), who threw one pitch to retire the final out of the sixth inning, relieving Rasner.

"You want to keep this thing rolling, this winning streak we've got," Rasner said. "You don't want to be the one to stop that. I wanted to continue the strong string here and put us in a position to win."

In one of his better recent outings Rasner said he shortened his arm action and used his changeup more, tweaks he began to incorporate during his last start in Toronto.

"From the bullpen (before the game) on, he had great command," said catcher Chad Moeller. "He was putting the fastball where he wanted to the whole night. (He threw) lots of close pitches throughout the whole ballgame, and he was able to keep pounding the zone. It gives you a chance.

"He got some big double plays, which was huge."

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