Yogi Berra and Don Larsen were at Yankee Stadium once again. Only this time, David Cone was far from perfect.
Four weeks after pitching a perfect game in front of those Yankees greats, Cone was pounded for five runs in five innings Saturday in a 6-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins.
"All year long I have prided myself on being able to get out of jams," Cone said after the Yankees lost for just the second time in 10 games. "I wasn't able to do it. It was by far my worst stuff of the year."
"I thought I was back on track in my last start but I came out really flat today," Cone said. "Maybe I should have just enjoyed it more instead of worrying about letting that perfect game affect me."
Once again Yankees greats were gathered at the stadium, this time for Old-Timers Day. But unlike on Yogi Berra Day, the Yankees' first perfect game battery Larsen and Berra did not throw and catch the first pitch.
And Cone wasn't dominating.
The Twins scored four runs in the second with help from second baseman Chuck Knoblauch's 20th error. Knoblauch dropped Terry Steinbach's fly to shallow right field leading off the inning. Paul O'Neill got a late jump on the ball forcing Knoblauch to try to make the play.
"I took one look back at (O'Neill) and I tried to find the ball again," Knoblauch said. "I just missed it."
"We were able to put a few hits together against David Cone, which is always a tough chore," Twins manager Tom Kelly said. "Anytime you can score a few runs off Cone, you feel fortunate."
Mientkiewicz, with his parents watching in the stands, snapped an 0-for-24 slump in the fourth inning with his second homer.
"It didn't matter who it was off," Mientkiewicz said. "I would have taken a base hit. As soon as I hit it I said, Please don't catch it. Please don't catch it."
Minnesota's Dan Perkins, normally a reliever, allowed a two-run homer to Tino Martinez in the fourth inning before being replaced by Bob Wells with one on and two outs. Wells (7-1) pitched 2 1-3 scoreless innings for the win.
Mike Trombley, Minnesota's fifth pitcher, got four outs for his 20th save in 27 chances. He entered with a runner on first and two outs in the eighth with a 2-0 count on pinch-hitter Jim Leyritz. Trombley threw seven of his first eight pitches for balls, loading the bases, before getting pinch-hitter Jorge Posada to fly out.
"I'm really proud of our bullpen guys," Kelly said. "Perkins came out of the pen and got us a few innings. And the other guys shut the door."
The Yankees ended three of the first four innings with double plays. With runners on first and second in the first, Bernie Williams hit into a 4-6-3 double play.
The second and fourth innings ended on strikeout-caught stealing double plays. Ricky Ledee fanned in the second with Chili Davis running from first and Joe Girardi struck out in the fourth with Ledee and Scott Brosius running. Ledee was thrown out by Steinbach at third.
Knoblauch tripled and scored on Derek Jeter's groundout in the seventh to cut Minnesota's lead to 5-3.
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