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Yankees Blow Lead, Drop Big Game To Twins

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 25: Russell Martin #55 of the New York Yankees chases after a pitch as Denard Span #2 of the Minnesota Twins waves in a runner during the seventh inning of the game on September 25, 2012 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – SEPTEMBER 25: Russell Martin #55 of the New York Yankees chases after a pitch as Denard Span #2 of the Minnesota Twins waves in a runner during the seventh inning of the game on September 25, 2012 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

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By JON KRAWCZYNSKI
AP Baseball Writer

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Phil Hughes ran out of gas in the seventh
inning and Boone Logan couldn’t hold the lead for him as the New
York Yankees missed a chance to go up 21/2 games on Baltimore in a
5-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night.

Hughes (16-13) was strong through six innings and the Yankees
jumped out to a 3-1 lead. But he left with the bases loaded and two
outs in the seventh, and the lefty Logan let one run score on a
wild pitch before giving up a two-run double to Denard Span that
put the Twins in front.

Joe Mauer followed with his third single of the game to cap the
four-run seventh, and the Twins held on to keep the Orioles, who
lost to Toronto earlier on Tuesday, 11/2 games back of New York in
the AL East.

Nick Swisher homered for the third straight game, Russell Martin
also went deep and Andruw Jones hit a pinch-hit solo shot off of
closer Glen Perkins in the ninth inning for the Yankees. But
Perkins struck out Jayson Nix for his 15th save.

Martin’s soaring shot in the seventh off of Casey Fien (2-1) in
the seventh was his 19th of the season, which ties a career high,
and gave New York a 3-1 lead.

But Hughes ran into trouble in the bottom of the inning after
allowing just one run on four hits in the first six. With much
better command of his fastball and changeup than he’s had lately,
Fien retired nine of the next 10 batters after giving up an RBI
double to Chris Parmelee in the fourth.

Then things went a little haywire for the 26-year-old
right-hander. He gave up a single to Ryan Doumit, walked Parmelee
and Jamey Carroll reached on an infield hit with one out to load
the bases.

With Hughes at 99 pitches, Yankees manager Joe Girardi went to
the lefty Logan to face a string of four straight left-handed
hitters in the Twins lineup. Logan’s first pitch was wild, getting
by Martin to allow Doumit to score. Span followed with the double
and Mauer the single to raise his average to .326, just behind
Triple Crown candidate Miguel Cabrera (.329) in the American
League.

It was a disappointing finish for Hughes, who has won three
straight starts and was appearing to pick up steam with the
postseason just over a week away. He finished with four runs on six
hits and four strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings.

Derek Jeter extended his hitting streak to 19 games with a
single in the first inning and Robinson Cano went 3 for 3 with a
walk for the Yankees, who could have opened their largest division
lead since Sept. 1.

Esmerling Vasquez gave up two runs on seven hits with five
strikeouts in six innings for the Twins.

NOTES: On Monday night, Curtis Granderson joined Babe Ruth, Lou
Gehrig, Mickey Mantle and Jason Giambi as the only Yankees to hit
40-plus HRs in back-to-back seasons. “Especially with the number
of guys that have played for the Yankees and put the pinstripes on,
at least for one sentence I get to get mentioned with those guys,”
Granderson said. “That’s pretty cool.” … Twins OF Josh
Willingham did not play because of a strained left shoulder. He’s
listed as day-to-day. … Mauer had only thrown out seven of 56
base runners on the season, but he went 2 for 2 on Tuesday night,
getting Ichiro Suzuki and Martin on strike-em-out, throw-em-out
double plays in the third and fourth. … The Twins send RHP Samuel
Deduno (6-5, 4.54) to the mound on Wednesday for the finale against
LHP CC Sabathia (13-6, 3.47).

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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