But the most dangerous lefty hitter on the field turned out to be New York's Jorge Posada. He homered, tripled, doubled and drove in three runs to give the Yankees a 5-3 victory.
Posada's big day helped stake the Yankees to a 5-1 lead. Hernandez (14-7) allowed just four hits and two earned runs in seven innings and now is 9-2 since June 5.
"It was the first time we'd seen Hernandez," Minnesota manager Tom Kelly said. "He'd been giving righties problems (.196 batting average), so we went with the lefties. They'd been hitting him a little better (.266 average). But we didn't have many chances early. We battled the best we could, but Hernandez pitched a good game."
"I had never seen nine lefties like that before," he said through an interpreter. "But I look at lefties or righties just the same I just want to get guys out. Everything was working."
Posada just missed in his bid to become the 11th Yankee in history to hit for the cycle. After hitting a homer, triple and double in his first three at-bats, he struck out to lead off the eighth.
Only one Yankee has hit for the cycle since 1972 (Tony Fernandez, 1995) and the last Yankee catcher to do it was Buddy Rosar in 1940.
"Everyone was talking about it in the dugout," Posada said. "I started thinking about it when I got the triple, because that's the hardest hit to get. When I came up in the eighth, I did think about trying to bunt because it was a close game, but I decided to try to hit the ball hard."
Posada struck out swinging against reliever Hector Carrasco.
"Carrascis not an easy guy to get a hit off," said New York's Derek Jeter. "I didn't say anything to him before his at-bat, but you knew Jorge wasn't going to walk."
Hernandez escaped a bases-loaded threat in the second and survived another scare in the seventh. He was leading 5-1 and had retired nine in a row before Javier Valentin's two-out single in the seventh.
Hernandez's wild pitch on a strikeout of Cristian Guzman then allowed Guzman to reach and Valentin to take second.
The Yankees took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on Posada's 11th homer of the season, into the upper deck in right field.
Minnesota tied it at 1 in the bottom half on Doug Mientkiewicz's sacrifice fly.
The Yankees went ahead to stay in the fourth when Tino Martinez hit a leadoff single and scored on Posada's two-out hit that was misplayed into a triple by Jones in center field.
New York increased its lead to 3-1 in the fifth on Bernie Williams' sacrifice fly.
The Yankees made it 5-1 in the sixth. Twins starter Joe Mays (5-6) opened the inning by walking Chili Davis and giving up a single to Ledee. Bob Wells relieved and allowed an RBI double to Posada and a run-scoring single to Knoblauch.
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