NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — CC Sabathia and the Yankees were in complete command for seven innings, until Rafael Soriano and the rest of the bullpen threw all that hard work away.
"That's baseball," said Sabathia after the Twins rallied past New York 5-4 on Tuesday night to overcome his dominant outing. "But I have full confidence that these guys are going to shut the door nine times out of 10, and that's really the strength of our team."
CC retired his final 17 batters. The big left-hander yielded just a pair of second-inning singles before a light crowd on the latest chilly night for baseball in the Bronx. He struck out six, walked one and was pulled after 104 pitches.
But the Yankees couldn't preserve a four-run lead.
"When you have a bullpen as good as ours it's easy to turn the ball over (to them)," CC said.
Soriano, spotless in his first two outings after signing a $35 million, three-year contract, walked three in the eighth. The last one, to Mauer, forced in a run and when Young plopped a three-run double into right off David Robertson, the Twins had fought back to tie it.
"He got himself in trouble, it's not like they whacked him around," said catcher Russell Martin. "Borderline pitch. ... A pitcher wants it and a hitter doesn't want it. It could have gone either way."
"If Mariano Rivera can blow a save every now and then, Soriano can have a rough night," Mark Teixeira added.
For the second night in a row, the Yankees hit a first-inning homer and opened a 4-0 cushion after two. They held on 4-3 in the series opener, but couldn't do it again.
"We've got to pile on. We can't be satisfied with four runs in the first two innings," said Teixeira, who hit a three-run homer.
The comeback had to be especially satisfying for the Twins. Including playoff games, they are 7-31 in the Bronx since Ron Gardenhire took over as manager in 2002. New York has won 18 of the last 21 meetings overall, counting three-game sweeps in the AL division series each of the past two years.
"It's never easy to play them, no matter where the game is. And even when you get a lead, those guys know how to win," Gardenhire said. "Our boys showed a lot of courage. It was a great win."
Your thoughts on the loss? Let us know in the comments below...
(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
for more features.