Twins' early start too much for Rasner, Yankees

MINNEAPOLIS " Darrell Rasner turned in the shakiest outing of his five starts this season at the big league level, and the Yankees slogged through a 5-1 loss to the Twins on Sunday at the Metrodome.

Having pitched as well as anyone on New York's staff after being recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the first week of May, Rasner's month of June got off to a rocky beginning, roughed up by hard hits and an odd play that left Melky Cabrera attempting a throw while sitting on the warning track.

"You're going to have days like this," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

On an afternoon when Nick Blackburn was flattened by a frightening Bobby Abreu line drive, leaving the Twins right-hander bloodied but not seriously injured, there was a more comical play in the sixth inning, when Justin Morneau raced around the bases on what would be officially scored as a triple and an error.

With Minnesota already up, 3-1, Morneau ripped a Rasner offering to the gap in right-center field, and Cabrera chased the ball down before slipping on the warning track. He then attempted to relay the throw to Abreu, but Cabrera's throw went well over the right fielder's head as Morneau raced around third and came home easily.

"It's some bad luck," said Rasner, who took his second loss. "It looked like Melky slipped, and Melky is going to make those plays. It's just a freak thing."

"The bottom line is, we didn't score runs," Girardi said.

With Rasner looking for his fourth win in five starts, he was instead down early. Michael Cuddyer came through with a two-run single after the first three Twins reached base in the first inning, but Rasner settled down to retire the next seven in a row.

Minnesota loaded the bases with none out against Rasner in the fourth, but he worked out of the inning with only one run scoring, getting Mike Lamb on a sacrifice fly to right and striking out two. He considered that some success, but he admitted the lengthy fourth probably took some gas out of him, running his pitch count up to its eventual total of 111.

"If I had to do it all over again, I'd do the same approach," said Rasner, a 1999 Carson High School graduate. "I'm not going to change. It's just a matter of a couple of balls that I got up that they hit. That was that."


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