MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Samuel Deduno didn’t look right to the Minnesota Twins.
Balls tossed back to him on the mound caused him to flinch away, as if he was seeing double. So despite the 29-year-old rookie’s insistence he was able to continue pitching, the Twins pulled him in the second inning and watched the New York Yankees break the game open in the third.
C.C. Sabathia struck out 10 batters over eight innings to help the AL East-leading Yankees beat the Twins 8-2 on Wednesday.
Deduno struck out two without a hit or a run despite two walks. After the second one, manager Ron Gardenhire and assistant athletic trainer Dave Pruemer came to the mound for a long talk. The diagnosis was irritation in his left eye, and Deduno was removed for Brian Duensing.
“As I’m walking out the trainer says, `There’s no way I’m leaving him out there,'” Gardenhire said. “He had his eyes checked over the last couple of days and everything was fine. He says he’s fine, but that’s not fine. We didn’t see fine when he was out there.”
Deduno will have an MRI on his eye. He was unavailable for comment, but Gardenhire said Deduno didn’t even want to open his glove to let the manager take the ball from him.
“I will never leave a player out there for that situation,” Gardenire said, adding: “Before the game everything was fine. That’s what the kid was telling us, and that’s all we can go by. It didn’t look good to us, so we took him out.”
Sabathia (14-6) threw 89 of his 118 pitches for strikes, including three straight to Twins All-Star Joe Mauer for the second of his three strikeouts in the fourth inning. Mauer, who began the day three points in the batting race behind Detroit’s Triple Crown chaser Miguel Cabrera with a .326 average, went 0 for 4.
“He’s a very powerful guy. He knows what to do with the lead. As soon as he got the lead he was just mowing them in there,” Gardenhire said.
Robinson Cano hit a two-run double and Curtis Granderson added a two-run triple during the six-run third against Duensing (4-11), and Sabathia took care of the rest. The burly lefty gave up six hits, two runs and one walk to improve to 10-0 with a 1.96 ERA in his last 11 starts against the Twins. Matt Carson and Pedro Florimon had RBI singles, but that was about the only solid contact Sabathia allowed.
“We tried our best to get back in there, but he’s a tough pitcher to get around,” right fielder Ben Revere said.
Duensing put seven straight runners on, including two walks, before finishing the third inning. Duensing, who started a postseason game against the Yankees in 2009 and 2010, let his ERA rise from 4.68 to 5.15.
“Anytime you can get that starter out and get to that pen, that’s when we start to eat a little bit,” said Nick Swisher, who added an RBI single.
Chris Dickerson also hit a two-run homer for the Yankees, who enjoyed a tension-free afternoon while winning for the 12th time in their last 16 games and stretching their lead over Baltimore to two games. The Orioles played later Wednesday.
Even the bad plays turned out all right.
Granderson was picked off first base in the second inning, but he scored on a wild pitch in the third.
Eric Chavez, thinking there were two outs instead of one in the fifth inning, casually fielded a grounder at third and stepped on the base for the force as he jogged toward the dugout before stopping and realizing his mistake. Sabathia shouted assurance to Chavez, whose embarrassed “oops” expression was frozen on the jumbo video screen above left-center field to the crowd’s amusement.
But after a passed ball by Chris Stewart put runners at second and third and threatened to exploit Chavez’s blunder, Sabathia calmly retired Denard Span on a groundout to first to keep the lead at 6-1.
After a leadoff double by Raul Ibanez in the sixth, Dickerson circled the bases with his drive off Anthony Swarzak, who was the second long reliever called on by the Twins.
“My job is to come in and try and shut it down, and I didn’t do that,” Duensing said, adding: “That’s a really good lineup. They’re always going to put pressure on you. Every single one of their guys in the lineup can hit the ball hard.”
NOTES: The Yankees have homered in each of their last 12 games against the Twins, totaling 25 in that span. … Chris Herrmann got his first major league hit for the Twins in the ninth, an infield single. … Swisher said this felt a little like a spring training game: “A lot of guys out there that we’ve never seen before,” he said.