Double-steal fail highlights rough day

Zoilo Almonte gave himself up too easily in a botched double-steal attempt in the fourth. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

NEW YORK -- Even trick plays can't help the lifeless Yankees offense.

A botched double steal highlighted yet another dismal offensive performance as the Yankees fell to the Twins 4-1 on Saturday at Yankee Stadium. New York has scored two or fewer runs in five of its last seven games.

The double steal failed due to left fielder Zoilo Almonte not landing in a rundown.

"That's probably my fault," said Girardi, clearly annoyed. "That's a situation where I assumed he understood he shouldn't get tagged. I'm going to take the blame for this, that he shouldn't have gotten tagged out. You know what happens when you assume."

In a 1-1 game in the fourth inning, Luis Cruz was at the plate with two outs and Vernon Wells on third and Almonte on first. Almonte took off on an 0-2 pitch and Pittsburgh catcher Ryan Doumit threw to second, gift wrapping home for Wells. Almonte, however, didn't pull up to get in a rundown and ran to the bag, where he was tagged for the final out. Wells would have scored easily if not for the blunder.

"We had the run. If he stops, we have the run. It's unfortunate," Girardi said. "It's a learning process sometimes for both of us and getting to know your players and thinking they understand what they want you to do and sometimes they don't."

The double steal wasn't the only failed opportunity on the day, as the Yankees missed out on chances to break open the game against Samuel Deduno. The Yankees tagged him for a run in the first inning, on a Robinson Cano RBI single, but went silent the rest of the day.

In a tie game in the fifth, Ichiro Suzuki struck out with two on to end the frame. In the seventh, with the Yankees down 2-1 and the tying run at third, Brett Gardner grounded out to end the inning. The Yankees were just 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position on the afternoon.

"Just didn't get anybody on base really. When we did, they got out of it," first baseman Lyle Overbay said. "There are some times you have to tip your hat to him. He did a good job of mixing his pitches, kind of effectively wild a bit."

Through the first half of the season, the Yankees have been one of the worst offensive teams in baseball. Ever the optimist, Girardi believes his team can be better in the second half than it's shown thus far.

"I don't think it's an offense that's going to average six runs a game. I do think we can be more consistent," Girardi said. "We've had some guys that have had ups and downs. If we can stay away from those, where the downs are long periods, I think we can be better."