Focus all you want on David Robertson's second blown save of 2014. But Joe Girardi wouldn't go there in placing the blame for the Yankees' 7-2 loss to the Twins on Sunday at the Stadium.
Robertson was charged with five runs in two-thirds of an inning as the Twins scored six times in the top of the ninth, but Girardi zeroed in on an offense that produced only six runs in losing two of three to the Twins and has been sporadic, at best, much of the season.
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"These are the guys we have,'' Girardi said, "and they have to find a way to get it done.''
In his first start against his old team, the Twins' Phil Hughes allowed two runs and three hits in eight innings and picked up the win. He was the pitcher of record on the losing side until Josh Willingham homered on Robertson's first pitch to tie it.
Hughes (6-1, 3.12) retired the final 15 hitters he faced after walking Brian McCann in a two-run fourth inning that gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead. But even that inning -- the only inning in the game in which the Yankees managed a hit -- bothered Girardi.
After Brett Gardner tripled and scored on Derek Jeter's single to tie it at 1-1, the Yankees loaded the bases with none out but managed only one more run on Ichiro Suzuki's sacrifice fly.
"We had bases loaded with nobody out and we only came away with one run,'' Girardi said, "and those are the situations we really need to capitalize on and we weren't able to do that. We have to be able to score more runs, there's no doubt about it.''
The Yankees, who had three hits, did not give themselves many more chances to fail with runners aboard,going 1-for-3 with runners in scoring position and stranding two.
The Yankees scored four runs in 20 innings against the Twins' three starters, although entering the series, Ricky Nolasco's 6.12 ERA and Kevin Correia's 6.34 were the worst two ERAs in the majors among regular starters.
"I think it's just a matter of time before the offense really breaks out,'' Jacoby Ellsbury said. "We've been battling, fighting to the end, and I think that's all you can really ask, but it will be nice when everything clicks.''
The lineup has been without Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira, but Girardi didn't want to hear that as an alibi. Not after losing starters Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia and seeing replacements David Phelps, Vidal Nuño and Chase Whitley mostly keep things afloat.
Whitley pitched well for a fourth straight start and was in line to get his first win until Willingham's homer. He allowed one run and five hits in five innings and lowered his ERA to 2.37.
"I think these guys [starters] have done a pretty decent job giving us a chance to win every day,'' Girardi said, "and at times, runs have been tough for us. We do have some injuries, but you can't make excuses. We still need to find a way to get it done. We need to get some guys going who are expected to be big production guys.''
Dellin Betances and Adam Warren struck out six in three scoreless innings to send the game into the ninth with the Yankees ahead 2-1, but Willingham's homer quickly tied it. "I tried to make a good pitch down and away and hopefully get him to hit a ground ball or something,'' Robertson said, "but he made me pay for it because I left it too far over the plate.''
Two strikeouts and two walks later, Brian Dozier doubled home the go-ahead run off Robertson, former Yankee Eduardo Nuñez had a two-run double off Matt Daley and Oswaldo Arcia added a two-run single off Matt Thornton.
It was the second blown save in 14 chances for Robertson, who started the season 9-for-9. White Sox slugger Adam Dunn's walk-off two-run homer handed him his first blown save May 23 in Chicago.
Robertson, who threw 27 pitches a day earlier in saving Masahiro Tanaka's eighth win, threw 27 more as his ERA increased from 2.08 to 4.50.
"I couldn't make any quality pitches to get outs,'' he said. "I stunk today. What can I say? I didn't get the job done.''
He was not alone.