Yankees hand Twins five unearned runs in loss

CC Sabathia couldn't reach the infield single by CC Sabathia couldn't reach the infield single by Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau in the fourth inning of a game at Yankee Stadium. (July 14, 2013) Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

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The All-Star break didn't officially begin until Monday, but it sure seemed as if the Yankees went on vacation a day early.

They committed two errors -- a generous tally by the official scorer -- and misplayed a handful of other balls in a 10-4 loss to the Twins at the Stadium.

"It's unusual," manager Joe Girardi said. "Our defense has been real good this year. For whatever reason, it wasn't today. We made some mistakes, gave them extra outs and it cost us."

Before Sunday, the Yankees had committed only 37 errors in 94 games, and their .989 fielding percentage placed them third in MLB. But on this afternoon, they provided little defensive help for CC Sabathia, who fell to 9-8 with a 4.07 ERA.

The lefthander allowed eight hits and eight runs in four innings, but five of those runs were unearned.

The mistakes started to pile up with one out in the third inning when the Twins' Justin Morneau hit a fly ball to shallow rightfield. With Vernon Wells getting a late break, Robinson Cano tracked the ball and tried to make an over-the-shoulder basket catch. Cano dropped the ball as he almost collided with Wells, and Morneau was credited with a double.

With two outs, shortstop Eduardo Nuñez's throw on Trevor Plouffe's routine grounder pulled Lyle Overbay off the bag at first. The following batter, Aaron Hicks, smacked a three-run home run to leftfield to give the Twins a 5-0 lead.

"I didn't have the ball very well, and I knew he's fast and so I started to rush," Nuñez said. "I feel sad for my teammate, CC. He threw everything that he could throw today."

But unfortunately for Sabathia and four Yankees relievers, that third inning was only the beginning of the fielding problems.

In the fourth, the Twins loaded the bases with one out. Morneau reached on a soft pop-up that fell in back of the mound and just out of Sabathia's reach to make it 6-0. Then, while trying to backhand Ryan Doumit's grounder, Overbay allowed the ball to scoot off his glove and into rightfield for an error, allowing two more unearned runs to score.

A two-out passed ball by Chris Stewart handed the Twins their final run in the ninth.

Although Girardi said the team played "horrible defense" behind Sabathia, the lefty shouldered some of the responsibility.

"It's just part of the game," he said. "I've got to make better pitches to try to help these guys out. They bail me out of situations all of the time, so it's frustrating not being able to help these guys out when we do make mistakes."

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