NEW YORK -- Is this any way to start a homestand?
Held to a single run by a pitcher (Ricky Nolasco) with a 6.12 ERA, crushed for three home runs by players who had hit a grand total of six between them coming in, and so lifeless their fans were reduced to doing the wave by the seventh inning, the New York Yankees dropped the first game of this three-game set with the Minnesota Twins, 6-1. Thank heavens tomorrow is Tanaka Day.
Vidal OhNo! Vidal Nuno struck out four of the first six hitters he faced, but the fifth one, Oswaldo Arcia, crushed an 0-2 fastball into the second deck in right to give the Twins a 1-0 second-inning lead. It was only Arcia's second homer of the season. Two innings later, Nuno served up another one, to Josh Willingham, who deposited a 1-2 fastball into the Twins bullpen leading off the fourth. It also was only Willingham's second homer of the season. Two hitters later, it was Trevor Plouffe pulverizing one into the batter's eye in center with a runner aboard to make it 4-1 Twins.
Ribbie machine: Jacoby Ellsbury, who knocked in three runs in the Yankees' win over the Cardinals on Wednesday, drove in the Bombers' first run Friday night with a double just inside the right-field line, scoring Brett Gardner from third.
Racked: Twins SS Eduardo Escobar was robbed of a double when his fourth-inning shot down the third-base line hit umpire David Rackley in the breadbasket, forcing him to stop at first. It didn't really matter except on the back of his baseball card. Because the next batter, Aaron Hicks, grounded out to end the inning.
924252: No, that is not a Beverly Hills zip code, but the scoring of a rundown that saw the Twins stop Gardner from scoring on Derek Jeter's fifth-inning single. Gardner, who had walked and stolen second, got hung up between third and home, but kept the Twins busy long enough for Jeter to reach third, where he was stranded when Ellsbury popped out to end the inning.
Gunned down: The Yankees had a great chance to make a dent in the Twins' lead when Yangervis Solarte singled to right with two runners on in the sixth. However, right fielder Arcia fired a bullet on the fly to the plate, cutting down Brian Roberts trying to score from second to end the inning.
Need a cutman: Attempting to steal third base in the third inning, Twins center fielder Danny Santana suffered a gash over his left eye when, on a headfirst slide, his helmet flew off and bounced back into his face. The game was held up for a good five minutes as Santana was attended to on the field. He wound up leaving the game for pinch runner Hicks. Santana's eye was stitched after he left the game.
Et tu, Nunie? Eduardo Nunez celebrated his return to Yankee Stadium by driving in the Twins' sixth run of the game with a single in the seventh. Poor Nunie's four at-bats were met with indifference by the Yankee Stadium crowd.
Tomorrow: Masahiro Tanaka (7-1, 2.29), whose 33-game regular-season winning streak was snapped two starts back by the Chicago Cubs, tries to extend his latest streak to two games, facing RHP Kevin Correia (2-6, 6.34), first pitch at 1:05 p.m.