- Associated Press - Saturday, June 25, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) - Maybe the Minnesota Twins will get a respite Sunday from that daunting trio in the Yankees’ bullpen. With the worst record in the majors, they sure could use a break.

Starlin Castro drove home the tiebreaking run in the eighth inning with a sharp one-hopper scored an error on shortstop Eduardo Escobar, and New York edged Minnesota 2-1 Saturday thanks to another dose of dominant relief pitching.

“They got the bounce and they got the win,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said.

Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller (5-0) and Aroldis Chapman combined to throw three scoreless innings for the third consecutive game in a four-day span.

The trio had teamed up to set down 26 consecutive batters during that stretch before Joe Mauer singled on a 99 mph fastball from Chapman with two outs in the ninth.

“I think they have one of the best pitching staffs in the whole game,” Escobar said through a translator. “When you get to the bullpen, you are basically done.”

Chapman struck out Brian Dozier on a 100 mph fastball for his 15th save in 16 tries.

Dozier homered leading off the second against Michael Pineda, but the Twins managed only three hits and lost for the 10th time in their past 11 meetings with New York. They’ll try to avoid a three-game sweep on Sunday.

“Their being at home enables them to use those three guys again in a tie situation, not just the lead, which is the right thing,” Molitor said. “They all did their job again.”

Minnesota (23-51) has dropped three straight and eight of 11 overall.

Brett Gardner got three hits, Carlos Beltran delivered an RBI single and 40-year-old Alex Rodriguez sparked the decisive rally by hustling for an infield single.

Brian McCann also had a key hit, and the Yankees (37-36) surged back above .500 with their third consecutive victory and sixth in eight games.

Rodriguez opened the eighth with a dribbler toward third. Playing deep, Eduardo Nunez charged in but was unable to make a barehanded scoop and Rodriguez was safe at first without a throw.

Pinch-runner Aaron Hicks, going on a 1-2 pitch, easily reached third when McCann singled off Ryan Pressly (2-4) just inside the right-field line. Mark Teixeira, activated from the disabled list before the game, struck out on 10 pitches before Castro hit the ball sharply a short step to the left of Escobar, who was playing just behind the infield grass.

A clean pick could have given Escobar a chance at an inning-ending double play. But the in-between hop skipped off his glove and into the outfield, allowing Hicks to score the go-ahead run.

“There was not much you can do but throw your glove at it,” said Escobar, charged with his second error of the game and third of the Twins’ five in the series. “That’s not an excuse, but it was hit pretty hard.”

New York is 12-0 when Betances, Miller and Chapman pitch in the same game. The threesome had not allowed a ball out of the infield during the past three games until Gardner ran down Nunez’s long drive to left-center leading off the ninth.


Twins starter Ervin Santana, who pitched 7 1/3 innings to beat the Yankees last Sunday, allowed six hits in five-plus innings. He had gone a career-best three consecutive starts without a walk before issuing a free pass to his first batter, Jacoby Ellsbury. “Ervin seemed to get better throughout the course of his stint,” Molitor said. “Unfortunately, the pitch count kind of bit him.”


Mauer struck out three times against Pineda.


Twins: 3B Trevor Plouffe missed his second consecutive game after straining his right groin Thursday. But he went through hitting, fielding and running drills and it appears he won’t need to go on the disabled list, general manager Terry Ryan said. … Miguel Sano, sidelined since May 31 with a strained left hamstring, was set to play seven innings at third base in his second rehab game for Triple-A Rochester. “We could use his bat in the middle of this lineup. We’re having trouble scoring runs,” Ryan said. … RHP Trevor May, on the DL since June 10 due to lower back spasms, is scheduled to pitch an inning Sunday for Rochester and then take Monday off. “See how everything progresses with him but he should be there about four outings or so,” Ryan said.


Yankees RHP Nathan Eovaldi (6-4, 5.02 ERA) starts on six days’ rest in the series finale Sunday against RHP Tyler Duffey (2-6, 6.18). Eovaldi has lost consecutive starts, including last Sunday at Minnesota. He is 1-3 with a 9.00 ERA in his past four outings.



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