MINNEAPOLIS — Brian Cashman addressed two of his team’s three significant needs Tuesday night. The yet-to-be-addressed one, and the biggest, bit the Yankees Wednesday in a 6-1 loss to the Twins at Target Field.
Rookie lefthander Jordan Montgomery’s recent slump continued as he allowed six runs, all in the second inning, and seven hits in six innings.
“He just didn’t have his stuff, he couldn’t find his curveball or his changeup early in the game,” Joe Girardi said. “As time went on, he found it.”
Cashman, who brought in standout relievers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle along with third baseman Todd Frazier, continues scouring the market for starting pitching. The stacked bullpen may be able to shorten the game to five innings if need be. Which is well and good, but not if the starter puts the Yankees in the kind of hole Montgomery dug.
The Yankees (48-45) fell to 3-4 on this 11-game trip that continues Thursday night in Seattle. They have lost 22 of their last 32 games and have not won a series since June 9-11 against the Orioles.
“We haven’t hit like we did, and I think that will get going,” Girardi said. “I just feel like we’re poised to make a good little run here. I like what our pitchers are doing and the way they’re competing, and offensively we’ll get going and we’ll put things together.”
The Twins’ Jose Berrios made sure that didn’t happen Wednesday, allowing one run and six hits in 6 2⁄3 innings. Berrios took a 6-0 lead into the seventh before the Yankees, who stranded nine, got on the board on Brett Gardner’s two-out RBI single. Berrios (9-3, 3.50) was 1-2, 6.63 in his previous four outings.
Frazier made his Yankees debut as a pinch hitter earlier in the inning. With two on and one out, Frazier struck out swinging at a 2-and-2 curveball. He took a 93-mph fastball from Trevor Hildenberger off his right hand in the ninth inning but said he’s “fine” and expects to be in the lineup Thursday night.
Kahnle, a draft pick of the Yankees, was taken by Colorado in the 2013 Rule 5 draft. He struck out two in a 1-2-3 eighth inning, his fastball reaching 100 mph.
After the Yankees left the bases loaded in the second inning — Ronald Torreyes grounded out — the Twins all but put the game away in the bottom half, scoring all six runs with two outs.
Chris Gimenez singled with one out and went to third on Ehire Adrianza’s double. Montgomery got Jorge Polanco to fly to short right for the second out, and keep Gimenez at third, but Zack Granite smacked a curve up the middle for a two-run single for his first career RBIs. Montgomery walked Dozier and Escobar sent a fastball up the middle for a single that made it 3-0.
Up stepped Miguel Sano, who fell behind 0-and-2. The slugger seemed to be sitting curveball and he got one, launching a hanger to left-center for his 23rd homer and a 6-0 lead.
Montgomery (6-5, 4.09) pitched well the rest of the way, allowing just one hit and retiring 12 of the final 13 batters he faced.
“Just hung two pitches,” Montgomery said of the curveballs Granite and Sano hit. “Can’t let that happen. It just snowballed and I couldn’t stop the bleeding.”
SERIES OF DISAPPOINTMENTS
The Yankees have not won a series since June 9-11, when they swept the Orioles at the Stadium. They’ve gone 0-8-2 in their last 10 series.
June 12-14 At Anaheim: Angels won series, 2-1.
June 15-18 At Oakland: A’s swept series, 4-0.
June 20-22 At Stadium: Angels won series, 2-1.
June 23-25 At Stadium: Rangers won series, 2-1.
June 26-29 At Chicago: Split series with White Sox, 2-2.
June 30-July 2 At Houston: Astros won series, 2-1.
July 3-5: At Stadium: Blue Jays won series, 2-1.
July 7-9 At Stadium: Brewers won series, 2-1.
July 14-16: At Boston: Split series with Red Sox, 2-2.
July 17-19: At Minnesota: Twins won series, 2-1.