Without question, Delmon Young's game-tying three-run homer against Mariano Rivera in the eighth inning of last night's game was one of the most exciting moments of the season. For that, we should be glad. Unfortunately, the Twins just couldn't find a way to convert on the opportunity afforded by Young and ended up losing to the Yankees in 12 innings.
Young's homer was unexpected to say the least. The Twins seemed downtrodden late in the game. The Yankees batters had been wearing down the pitching staff with long at-bats all night, and had opened up a three-run lead for their near-perfect closer, who was called upon in the eighth inning. Somehow, Young managed to take a Rivera pitch over the baggy in right field, tying the game and handing the incredible Rivera his first blown save of the season.
But that was seemingly all the magic the Twins had up their sleeves. They were unable to capitalize on Young's huge homer, as the offense could must only one single over the next three innings while the Yankees scored three times against Matt Guerrier in the 12th to claim victory.
Certainly, Guerrier's ugly outing continues to cast doubt on his ability to get important outs for this club. The team needed him to step up in Neshek's absence, but recently he's developed into the least effective arm on the roster. Since the All-Star break, Guerrier has posted a 10.64 ERA while allowing 20 hits -- including four homers -- over 11 innings. During that span, he has watched his ERA shoot up from 3.35 to 4.67, while his opponents' batting average has escalated from .241 to .302. It's hard to blame Guerrier for his downfall, as the situation has very likely come about from his extremely frequent use this season, but it's still unfortunate to see one of the team's few reliable bullpen arms turn into a pumpkin. Guerrier's pitches quite clearly had nothing on them last night. Bill Smith is looking more and more foolish for not finding a way to acquire Chad Bradford or LaTroy Hawkins...
But I digress. Guerrier can hardly be handed the majority of blame for this loss. The Yankees offense can't be suppressed for too long, and they were bound to get to someone as long as the Twins' offense kept extending the game by failing to mount a rally.
In spite of the result, this was still an impressive game for the Twins, who showed resiliency battling back in what seemed like a lost cause against the Evil Empire. This could have been a depressing, lackluster nine-inning loss, but instead it turned into a thrilling extra-inning affair in which the Twins simply ran out of bullets. Let's dwell on that positive, and hope the Twins can find a little more ammo to support Kevin Slowey this afternoon.