NEW YORK, N.Y. - Kevin Correia was in trouble from the start, and that was a tough way to begin against Masahiro Tanaka and the New York Yankees.
Yet Correia wiggled out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the first inning and managed to stay even with prized pitcher from Japan. The Minnesota bullpen didn't do nearly as well, and Twins slipped 3-1 Saturday for their seventh loss in nine games.
"I knew runs were going to be hard to come by today. It comes down to they got the runs and we didn't today," Correia said.
Correia worked around nine hits and a walk in six innings, and the lone run he allowed came on a homer by Yangervis Solarte. The no-decision left Correia with a 2-6 record, though he dropped his ERA to 5.87.
"I haven't got the results I would have hoped for," he said.
He did fine after the Yankees quickly loaded the bases on a leadoff single by Brett Gardner, a double by Derek Jeter and a walk to Jacoby Ellsbury. Correia struck out Mark Teixeira and got Brian McCann to ground into a double play, neatly covering first base to catch the relay throw and end the inning.
Tanaka lowered his AL-leading ERA to 2.06, and Brian McCann lined a go-ahead double in the eighth inning.
Tanaka (8-1) permitted only an unearned run in eight innings. The rookie from Japan gave up four singles, just two leaving the infield.
"We're still adjusting to him," said Brian Dozier, who scored the Twins' run.
"He's the most backwards pitcher I have ever faced. In a hitter's count, he throws his offspeed stuff. He pitches off his splitter, not his fastball," he said.
Said Correia: "It's always fun going against the best guys in the league. I know he's technically a rookie, but he's proving himself quick."
"He's got a lot of swing-and-miss pitches, and he can throw them anytime in the count," he said.
Tanaka walked two and bounced two wild pitches. But he was especially sharp against Joe Mauer, the three-time AL batting champion.
Mauer, who faced Tanaka in spring training, struck out on three pitches in the first inning with a runner on third. Mauer fanned on four pitches with runners on second and third in the third, then tapped into a double play and later grounded out.
It was 1-all when Ellsbury singled with one out in the Yankees eighth off Brian Duensing (1-2). Ellsbury stole second, and continued to third when catcher Josmil Pinto's throw from his knees went into centre field for an error.
In light showers, Brian Roberts walked and McCann hit an RBI double over leaping first baseman Chris Parmelee into the right-field corner. Following a 34-minute rain delay, Kelly Johnson drove in a run with an infield single.
"Things were going well for a while, then things kind of snowballed quick," Duensing said.
David Robertson pitched the ninth for his 12th save.
Tanaka and Correia both escaped early trouble, and nobody pitched a perfect 1-2-3 inning until the seventh.
Dozier grounded the first pitch of the game off Johnson's glove at third base for an error, moved up on a wild pitch and scored on Josh Willingham's two-out single.
Solarte homered in the fourth, giving the rookie infielder a team-leading 26 RBIs.
Solarte singled with two outs and the slow-footed McCann on second in the sixth. McCann was held at third as strong-armed right fielder Oswaldo Arcia fielded the ball and threw home, and Solarte was thrown out trying to take second.
Arcia had two assists in Friday night's 6-1 win.
NOTES: Twins rookie CF Danny Santana was out of the lineup, a day after he needed seven stitches to close a cut on his left eyelid. He was hurt when his batting helmet flew off during a headfirst slide and bounced up to hit him in the face. "We have to be guarded here," manager Ron Gardenhire said. ... Gardenhire won a replay challenge in the third, and Eduardo Escobar wound up with an infield hit. ... Former Yankees All-Star Phil Hughes (5-1, 3.23) faces his former team Sunday. Rookie Chase Whitley (0-0, 2.57) starts for New York. ... The Twins were trying for their fourth straight win at Yankee Stadium, having won their final two games at the park last year and again Friday. The last time Minnesota won four in a row in the Bronx was 1968. ... Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira left in the sixth because of soreness in his surgically repaired right wrist, the same problem that forced him to miss three games this week. He's expected to miss two more games.
© Coast Reporter