Logan squanders lead in 7th as Yankees lose to Twins

Phil Hughes holds his head in the dugout

Phil Hughes holds his head in the dugout after he was pulled in the seventh inning of a game against the Minnesota Twins. (Sept. 25, 2012) (Credit: AP)

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Orioles found a new best friend Tuesday night in Boone Logan.

The Yankees' lefthanded reliever, called on with two outs and the bases loaded in the seventh inning, imploded against the Twins, leading to a deflating 5-4 loss at Target Field.

"I didn't have it tonight,'' said Logan, who allowed three inherited runners to score and allowed one of his own in a miserable one-third of an inning. "I don't have any answers. I just had a bad night.''

With the Orioles having lost earlier to the Blue Jays, the Yankees (89-65) had a chance to push their AL East lead to 2½ games with eight remaining.

"You know you have an opportunity to pick up another game,'' Joe Girardi said. "Yeah, it's [tough]. But you have to move on.''

Girardi's move to pull Phil Hughes in the seventh was front and center for the second-guessers, which seemed to include the pitcher. "I feel like I was throwing the ball well,'' Hughes said. "It's a tough way to lose . . . You don't worry about those decisions. You just live with them.''

Hughes (16-13) entered the seventh with a 3-1 lead, the runs provided by Nick Swisher's two-run homer in the fourth and Russell Martin's solo shot in the seventh. But the Twins sent 10 to the plate in the seventh, scoring four runs to take a 5-3 lead.

Hughes struck out Pedro Florimon with a 91-mph fastball with the bases loaded for the second out. Girardi said he liked the matchup of Logan against the lefthanded-hitting Denard Span. He was 0-for-4 in his career against Logan.

Logan's first pitch was a wild one, shooting to the backstop to bring in Ryan Doumit. Span reached down and lined Logan's full-count slider to right-center for a two-run double that made it 4-3 and gave Hughes a final line not entirely representative of how he pitched: four runs, six hits in 62/3.

Joe Mauer's third hit, a single to right, brought in Span to make it 5-3, which turned out to be a critical insurance run. Lefthander Glen Perkins allowed pinch hitter Andruw Jones' two-out homer in the ninth but struck out Jayson Nix to record his 15th save.

Girardi said he thought Hughes was tiring, having thrown 26 pitches in the inning and 99 in the game. Hughes didn't agree.

"If anything, after getting a big strikeout, you gain a little adrenaline and really looked forward to getting the last guy,'' Hughes said. "But, like I said, I don't make those calls.''

Hughes seemed to hold in his anger but said, "Yeah, inside," when asked if it was somewhere.

"It had been a struggle so far in that inning,'' Girardi said. "He had a walk, a 3-2 count, a long at-bat and Boony had a ton of success against Span. But it didn't work.''

Martin said he thought Hughes "still had good stuff.'' But he took the blame for not blocking Logan's wild pitch.

"I need to block the ball,'' he said. "It was a slider and I just picked up my glove too soon and it went under my legs. That's like Catching 101, man. Get your glove down. And we have a different ballgame probably.

"I'm not saying that's the reason he gave up a couple of hits, but I'd rather have a two-run lead than a one-run lead.''

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