MINNEAPOLIS -- Greg Bird's eighth-inning RBI double prevented the Yankees from enduring the indignity of being no-hit for the first time in 15 years, spoiling Jake Odorizzi's bid for history after the right-hander recorded 22 outs without a hit, but it wasn't enough to keep their lead for the top
MINNEAPOLIS -- Greg Bird's eighth-inning RBI double prevented the Yankees from enduring the indignity of being no-hit for the first time in 15 years, spoiling Jake Odorizzi's bid for history after the right-hander recorded 22 outs without a hit, but it wasn't enough to keep their lead for the top American League Wild Card spot from shrinking near the limit.
Odorizzi blanked the Bombers over the first seven frames and departed to a standing ovation as the Twins defeated the Yankees, 3-1, on Wednesday evening at Target Field. With their ninth loss in 16 games and the Athletics' victory at Baltimore, New York's lead over Oakland for the first AL Wild Card spot was trimmed to a single game.
"We know what's at stake," said Giancarlo Stanton, who went hitless with a walk to complete a road trip on which he went 4-for-34 (.118) with 16 strikeouts. "We know what we need to do. It's not an ideal day today or a road trip. We know what we need to do. We're going to come out on Friday and get it done."
The Yankees have not been no-hit since six Astros pitchers combined to do it on June 11, 2003, at the original Yankee Stadium, but it appeared to be a real possibility as Odorizzi kept the lineup out of that scoreboard column. Settling for a one-hit, 120-pitch effort, Odorizzi was helped by several nice defensive plays, with some deep drives contained by the spacious ballpark.
"Obviously, we want different results and we need to get better, but I thought our intent today was really good," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "I thought the plans were solid. If you look at that game, I thought we had a lot of quality at-bats and a lot of hard-hit balls. We expect more, and we've got to get rolling."
Luis Severino worked the first 5 2/3 innings in one of the better starts of his recent stretch, retiring 15 straight after Joe Mauer's first-inning single. Though he permitted a run-scoring double to No. 9 hitter Ehire Adrianza, the right-hander appeared displeased to hand the ball over to Boone.
"I asked him to give me one more hitter. He has his reasons," said Severino, who permitted four hits in an 83-pitch effort, walking none and striking out five. "I said, 'Give me one more batter.' He said, 'That was it.' … I saw the pitch count at 80-something. Even if I get to 90, that's a low count for pitches."
Severino brushed past Boone and catcher Gary Sanchez after handing the ball over, and Boone said that he had no issue with Severino's competitive spirit.
"He's in the fight right now, and I respect the hell out of that," Boone said. "He wants the ball and he wanted to get out of that situation. Just the way we were lined up, I felt like it was the right move at the time, but I have no issue with him wanting the ball."
Player Page for David Robertson pitched out of an inherited jam with runners at second and third, but the Twins got to the reliever for three straight two-out hits in the seventh, creating a three-run lead. Jake Cave doubled and scored on a Willians Astudillo single, and Max Kepler followed with an RBI double that tipped off a diving Aaron Hicks' glove in left-center field.
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"I felt like I was throwing the ball well. I just made a mistake to Cave," Robertson said. "Left a ball over the middle of the plate, he's a big league hitter and he did exactly what he's supposed to do. He put a good swing on it and laced it down the line. I tried to fight my way out of it; it's just unfortunate."
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YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
The Yankees indeed went unrewarded for their solid contact, as Minnesota made nice plays to deny hits on balls that were smoked by Hicks (102.7 mph) in the fourth inning, Luke Voit (100.9 mph) in the fifth and Hicks again (109.5 mph) in the ninth, among others.
"We had good at-bats. It's frustrating, but what can you do?" Stanton said. "We hit balls hard. It's not an ideal outcome, but that's baseball sometimes. We hit a lot of balls hard."
HE SAID IT
"I think everybody here, they're working. They're doing the best they possibly can to win games. Minnesota played good baseball tonight. Odorizzi was great. I think everybody here is just thinking about winning games and playing baseball. Whatever happens at the end of the year happens." -- Severino
Following an off-day on Thursday, the Yankees return home to open a three-game series against the Blue Jays on Friday at 7:05 p.m. ET at Yankee Stadium. Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka is coming off one of his best starts of the year, having fired eight scoreless innings of three-hit, 10-strikeout ball against the Mariners in Seattle last week. The Blue Jays have not yet announced their starter.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.