NEW YORK -- Derek Jeter loves to chide reporters for assuming things when they ask him a question, which is more than fair. "Do not assume, buddy," has been said more than once by the Yankees captain to interviewers bearing preconceived notions to his locker.
So it was refreshing to hear Jeter chide himself tonight for the same transgression, namely assuming that Brett Gardner would be heading home on Jeter's fifth-inning single, allowing him to take an extra base on the throw. But third base coach Rob Thomson put up the stop sign -- a decision Gardner said was the right call -- and the Twins, with second baseman Brian Dozier alertly slipping behind Jeter, turned what could have shaped up as a big inning for the Yankees into an elaborate, soul-crushing rundown.
Five throws later, Gardner was tagged out between third and home. And although Jeter hustled to third, he went no further as Jacoby Ellsbury fouled out to end the inning.
"It's my job in my situation, if you think there's a play at the plate, you've got to go and try to go to second base to trade an out for a run," Jeter said. "But I've got to make sure he's going. It's not my job to think what's going to happen. I have to know. Good play by them, but I assumed he was going. I shouldn't assume."
Not that the play would have changed the game. Vidal Nuno had already given up four runs on three home runs, and Preston Claiborne would allow two more. But had Jeter stopped at first and given Ellsbury a shot with runners at the corners and just one out, at least the inning might have turned out differently.
"It’s just a bad read," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I don't know if he didn’t see the second baseman. It's going to happen from time to time. These guys aren't going to be perfect in their judgment. It's a heads-up play on their second baseman's part to sneak behind the runner, but you won't see Derek do that very often."
Gardner, for his part, said right fielder Oswaldo Arcia, who homered earlier and gunned down Brian Roberts at the plate in the sixth, would almost certainly have nailed him, too. "It was the right call for sure," Gardner said of Thomson's decision to hold him. "I saw the replay and I would have been out by a good bit. He has a real good arm and the throw was right on the money."
Nuno thinks he was good: Despite allowing the three home runs, all of them bombs, Nuno (1-2, 5.48) thought he pitched well Friday. "I felt really good, mixing up pitches," he said. "I didn’t walk anybody. I was just pounding the zone, and if I get those fastballs in the right situation it would be a different ballgame."
Girardi, too, tried to characterize Nuno's outing -- he went 6⅔ and has worked at least six innings in each of his past three starts -- as more than acceptable. "I think he gave us the six innings, or six and two-thirds, had seven strikeouts. At times his stuff was pretty decent. But when he made a mistake, they hit it out of the park," he said.
Twin killing: Tonight's loss was the Yankees' third straight to the Twins. It's the first time since 1999 they have lost three straight to Minnesota, and their third straight loss at home to the Twinkies, something that had not happened since 1992.
CC to the treadmill: CC Sabathia had his inflamed right knee examined by Dr. Christopher Ahmad today and, according to Girardi, is showing improvement.
"He is better and he’s going to start some more movement," Girardi said. "They have all these fancy treadmills and things. I think he’s going to start doing some of that."
However, there is still no timetable for his projected return.
"It’s up in the air," Girardi said. "He hasn’t played catch or thrown a bullpen, so he’s still a ways away, but today was a step in the right direction."