Twins fall to Yankees despite quality start for Nolasco
MINNEAPOLIS -- Bullpen troubles are a big reason the Minnesota Twins are a big league-worst 20-48.
Former closer Kevin Jepsen gave up Carlos Beltran's tying two-run homer in the eighth inning, and the Twins wasted a four-run lead in a 7-6 loss to the New York Yankees on Saturday.
Minnesota's bullpen has blown 11 save chances.
"You just look at where we're at," Jepsen said. "I can speak for myself and I'm frustrated."
Alex Rodriguez started New York's comeback with a two-run homer in the seventh off starter Ricky Nolasco, the 695th home run of A-Rod's career.
New York, which got back to .500 at 34-34, went ahead 7-4 with a three-run ninth.
Fernando Abad (1-1) walked Chase Headley leading off. Didi Gregorius then slipped a bunt past the pitcher and beat second baseman Brian Dozier's throw to put two on with no outs. Juan Centeno's passed ball prompted an intentional walk to Rob Refsnyder to load the bases.
Ryan Pressly struck out pinch-hitter Starlin Castro, Jacoby Ellsbury drove in two runs with a full-count single, Pressly threw a wild pitch and Brett Gardner hit a sacrifice fly.
"We've had a lot of losses," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "You don't ever want to get comfortable. We've had trouble winning games that we have a chance to win late. There's not been a lot of those either, but today was one of them. Ricky pitched outstanding."
Nolasco gave up two runs and eight hits over seven innings. Gardner legged out an infield single off lefty Buddy Boshers, and Molitor brought in Jepsen to face Beltran. The 39-year-old switch-hitter connected for his 18th homer this season, an opposite-field drive into the left-field bleachers.
"He's dangerous both ways, but I'd rather see him hit left-handed in that situation than right-handed against a little more experience," Molitor said. "Kevin got ahead of him, but then he left a changeup up."
Andrew Miller (4-0) pitched a scoreless eighth, and Aroldis Chapman gave up back-to-back homers to Eduardo Escobar and Kurt Suzuki with two outs in the bottom half before retiring pinch-hitter Trevor Plouffe on a groundout for his 13th save in 14 chances.
Byung Ho Park hit a two-run homer and had a sacrifice fly as Minnesota built a 4-0 lead after six innings. The home run, an opposite-field drive to right off starter Michael Pineda, was his team-high 12th this season.
WHERE'S THE BAG?
Pineda had only his feet to blame when he was charged with an error in the sixth inning. With one out and Dozier on second, Max Kepler hit a hard grounder that first baseman Ike Davis stabbed with a dive to his right. Davis flipped to Pineda, but the pitcher's feet got tangled as he tried to field the throw. Kepler reached the base just before Pineda got his foot down.
The players collided and Kepler appeared to be favoring his left knee when he got up, but he stayed in the game.
Yankees: 1B Mark Teixeira (torn cartilage, right knee) is close to heading to the minor leagues for an injury rehabilitation assignment, manager Joe Girardi said. Teixeira, who has been sidelined since June 4, ran the bases before Saturday's game and could be ready to start his rehab stint as early as Tuesday. "Every test, he has passed so far, so we're looking at a couple more days' work and then sending him out," Girardi said.
Twins: GM Terry Ryan said OF Miguel Sano (strained left hamstring) did a significant amount of running on Friday and will participate in agility drills on Monday. Sano could be ready to head out for a minor league rehab assignment next week.
Yankees: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (6-3) went 6-0 over a span of seven starts but hasn't won since May 29. He's posted a 9.82 ERA and given up five home runs in his last three outings. He is coming off his shortest start of the year, in which he gave up six runs in four innings in a loss at Colorado on Tuesday.
Twins: RHP Ervin Santana (1-7) is 0-5 with a 7.71 ERA in his last five starts. He won his first four decisions against the Yankees but hasn't beaten them in 10 starts since 2008.