3 errors doom Milone, Twins in 5-3 loss to Yankees
NEW YORK (AP) Aroldis Chapman entered the game and threw eight straight pitches of 100 mph or higher, striking out Eduardo Escobar and Byung Ho Park, then getting ahead of Kurt Suzuki 0-2 in the count.
Suzuki fouled off a 103 mph pitch and a 104 mph offering, before Chapman dropped a 91 mph changeup at the knees for a called third strike that completed the Minnesota Twins' 5-3 loss to the New York Yankees on Friday night.
''He had a chance to get three strikeouts on nine pitches, but Kurt foiled that,'' Twins manager Paul Molitor said. ''Moral victory.''
New York took advantage of three errors, which tied Twins' season high, and Rob Refsnyder hit a tiebreaking single after the Twins wasted leads of 2-0 and 3-2.
Former-Twin Aaron Hicks hit his first right-handed home run this year, an eighth-inning drive off Buddy Boshers.
Making his first big league start since April 25, Milone (0-2) allowed four runs - three earned - six hits and two walks in 3 2/3 innings. He also made a big mental mistake, forgetting to cover first on Hicks' fourth-inning grounder that went off first baseman Joe Mauer's glove for an error that loaded the bases.
Milone had been 4-0 with a 1.66 ERA in four Triple-A starts.
''I felt really good coming out of the gate. I felt maybe a little too good,'' he said. ''Coming back from that second inning, I just didn't feel the same. I still felt pretty good, just the command wasn't as good.''
New York beat the Twins for the fourth time in five meetings this season and won for just the 10th time in 24 games when opponents started a left-hander. The Yankees (36-36) got back to .500, while the Twins dropped to a big league-worst 23-50.
Former Yankee Eduardo Nunez hit a two-run single in the third for a 2-0 lead and No. 8 hitter Suzuki had an RBI double in the fourth that put the Twins ahead 3-2.
But Milone struggled at times against a Yankees batting order that had just two left-handed hitters. After Escobar allowed Austin Romine's leadoff grounder in the third to kick off his glove at shortstop for an error, Carlos Beltran hit a two-out RBI double and scored on Alex Rodriguez's single.
''We didn't play very cleanly,'' Molitor said. ''Obviously the first misplay that extended that inning, and they got a chance to get to the middle of the lineup with two outs and both Beltran and A-Rod cashed them in.''
''I should have been there,'' Milone said. ''I guess I just paused and it was too late.''
Chase Headley walked leading off the fourth, Didi Gregorius reached on a bunt single to third and Mauer's error loaded the bases. Romine's sacrifice fly tied it and Refsnyder's hit put New York ahead. Neil Ramirez relieved with the bases loaded and struck out Rodriguez.
Masahiro Tanaka (5-2) beat the Twins for the second time in seven days, allowing three runs and seven hits in six innings. And then came the trio, with Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Chapman closing it out.
''You knew if you got through the sixth it was going to be trouble,'' Molitor said.
Chapman's final pitch seemed almost unfair.
''That was the last thing on my mind,'' Suzuki said. ''I was thinking either slider or heater.''
Minnesota is 4-17 against the AL East and 8-25 on the road.
Twins: 3B Trevor Plouffe was sidelined after straining his right groin Thursday and hopes to avoid the DL. ''He's better than I thought he was going to be today,'' Molitor said. ... 3B Miguel Sano, who hasn't played since May 31 because of a strained left hamstring, was 0 for 1 with a walk in five innings at third base for Triple-A Rochester.
RHP Ervin Santana (2-7) starts Saturday for Minnesota and RHP Michael Pineda (3-7) for New York. Santana beat the Yankees on June 19, allowing three runs - two earned - in 7 1/3 innings. Pineda didn't get a decision at Minnesota on June 18.