NY SOS was graciously welcomed in the upper deck at the ballpark in the Bronx tonight. With Matt Vereb, Scott Kasper, and myself in attendance, the Yankees had this game in the palm of their hands for seven innings. They scored four runs in the first two innings on a pair of longballs and had their ace on the rubber throwing two-hit, shutout baseball.

From the eighth inning on the Yankees’ bullpen allowed five unanswered runs, including a horrendous four-run eighth inning, and the Minnesota Twins walked off the field as winners after ten innings.

Recap

Let’s start from the beginning (the good). Mark Teixeira conducted an offensive assault in the first inning by launching a three-run home run to left against Twinkie starter Brian Duensing, following a Derek Jeter walk and Nick Swisher single. The homer was Tex’s fourth of the season – and his first from the right side of the dish. New Bomber Andruw Jones added a solo homer that just barely cleared the left field wall an inning later, making the Yanks’ lead 4-0 after just two.

After that, nothing else happened on offense. Duensing settled down after the two homers in the first two innings, allowing just two singles and a walk in his final five frames. Tex and Jones are obviously the offensive MVPs tonight; along with their output Jeter singled and walked and Swisher singled twice. The rest of the lineup? Combined 1-for-21 (the 1 is an Alex Rodriguez single) with five strikeouts.

I’ve been to a lot of Yankees games in my life. CC Sabathia pitched one of the best games I’ve ever seen in person tonight. He limited the Twins to just two hits (singles, in the same inning) and one walk (in the first inning), and retired the last 17 batters he faced. It’s a real shame a gem like this doesn’t result in a victory.

Which leads us to the end of the game (the bad). With a four-run lead in the eighth inning and Minnesota’s bottom of the order due up, Joe Girardi handed the ball off to Rafael Soriano. Based on this move it’s quite clear that Girardi has zero confidence in using David Robertson. With just two innings left in the game, a four-run lead is pretty comfortable. Add in the fact that the Twins’ bottom of the order is due up, and your comfort is almost at Tempurpedic level. That’s damn comfy. Anyway, with this situation in place there is no need to put Soriano in. With a lead of that size, that late in the game, and the bottom of the order due up, your $10+ million setup guy doesn’t have to pitch.

With Soriano on the mound, four of the six batters he faced got on base – three on walks. He walked Joe Mauer for the Twins’ first run of the game before being replaced by Robertson. In the next at-bat Robertson allowed three runs to score to tie the game with two outs on a bases-clearing bloop double to short right field. If the ball hangs in the air a half-second longer, Swisher makes the play. Instead, the ball falls to Swisher’s feet as he attempts a sliding catch.

In the end, whoever gets the ball in that situation in the eighth has to get those outs. I don’t agree with who got the ball, but Soriano was on the mound there; and he failed to end the inning himself.

Boone Logan allowed a leadoff walk to Denard Span to start the 10th inning. Tsuyoshi Nishioka fouled off two bunt attempts before hitting a single to right, sending Span to third. With the infield drawn-in to keep Span at third, Joe Mauer lined a single just past Robbie Cano’s glove to right field and Span trotted home.

That’s your ball game.

Key Stats

13: The 13 longballs the Yankees have hit ties the franchise record for the most through the first five games of the season.

13: Tonight’s lucky number. With his second inning home run, Andruw Jones became the 13th Yankee since 1961 to homer in his first at-bat for the team. The last to do it was Curtis Granderson last season, and before that was Cody Ransom in 2008.

3: Boone Logan has faced eight batters this season – and retired three of them.

40,267: Tonight’s announced attendance, which makes is four straight nights with a new record low attendance at Yankee Stadium.

2,300: Tonight’s game was Derek Jeter’s 2,300th game as a Yankee.

What’s Next?

First pitch at 7:05 tomorrow night, as Freddy Garcia makes his debut in pinstripes on Wednesday night against someone with a name you might recognize…

Tune in to the YES Network for baseball in a box in your living room.

Carl Pavano (0-1, 15.75 ERA) vs. Freddy Garcia (0-0, 0.00 ERA)