Wins have been few and far between for the Minnesota Twins in the Bronx under Ron Gardenhire.
The percentages for consecutive victories over the New York Yankees seem to be against them Tuesday night when Francisco Liriano tries to end his early-season struggles.
Minnesota (3-7) improved to just 6-28 in the regular season at both Yankee Stadiums under Gardenhire with Monday night's series-opening 7-3 victory. Carl Pavano pitched seven effective innings to become the first Twins starter to win a game this season, while Justin Morneau went 2 for 5 with a homer in his first start of the season at first base.
"It's a new season,' Gardenhire said. "We're 1-0 at Yankee Stadium.'
Morneau has enjoyed hitting at the Yankees' newer confines, going 19 for 42 (.452) with five homers and five doubles. One notable difference Monday, though, was Morneau not following Joe Mauer in the lineup for the first time since 2008.
"Morny's got a nice look on his face,' Gardenhire said. "He's enjoying the game of baseball.'
Morneau is 6 for 43 with nine strikeouts and one homer lifetime against Yankees scheduled starter CC Sabathia.
Liriano (0-1, 10.00 ERA) now gets the ball as Minnesota seeks consecutive road victories over the Yankees (5-5) for the first time since bracketing wins to end and start the 2000 and 2001 seasons, respectively. The left-hander, however, has failed to get past the fifth inning in either of his first two starts this year and has the worst ERA on the team.
He was tagged for six runs and seven hits in five innings Thursday by the Los Angeles Angels, but the Twins bailed him out by rallying for seven runs in the final three innings of their 10-9 victory.
"He's just got to enjoy the game a little bit more when he's out there and have a little more fun," Gardenhire told the team's official website. "Right now it looks like he's pressing."
Liriano's track record in New York isn't great - he's 0-2 with a 4.24 ERA in three starts, all in new Yankee Stadium. He did, though get his first career victory over the Yankees last year in his most recent start against them Aug. 20 at home.
Sabathia (0-0, 6.75) carries a personal six-game winning streak against the Twins into this game over seven starts, posting a 1.44 ERA in 50 innings during a run that dates to a loss July 29, 2007, while pitching for Cleveland.
The left-hander didn't have his best stuff Wednesday at Baltimore, but did his part in New York's 6-4, 10-inning victory. Sabathia struck out eight in six innings, giving up four runs and eight hits.
"I was just trying to be too fine with my fastball," he told the Yankees' official website. "I had good command, and my pitches were doing what they needed to. I was just trying to make too good a pitch."
While Sabathia - 14-8 in 30 career starts against Minnesota - tries to get back on track, Derek Jeter will try to continue his early-season groove. He went 2 for 4 with a solo homer Monday for his third consecutive multihit game and is batting .378 (17 for 45) with seven extra-base hits thus far.
Last season, the veteran shortstop hit .237 with just one extra-base hit through his first 10 games. Jeter is 6 for 17 with two doubles and a homer lifetime versus Liriano.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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