The Yankees hit nine home runs in their first three games of the season in the Bronx, so when Minnesota's Scott Baker couldn't throw his off-speed pitches for strikes early in Monday's game at Yankee Stadium, it seemed certain at least one New York hitter would go deep.
In the end, two of them did. Alex Rodriguez homered in the first inning, and Jorge Posada hit one in the second. But the homers weren't completely troubling to Baker. What had him regretful after the Twins' 4-3 loss was that both came with a man on base. Rodriguez's homer drove in Mark Teixeira, who was on first after Baker hit him in the foot with an wild slider. Posada's came after Nick Swisher started the inning with a walk.
"Instead of a couple solo home runs, you're talking about two two-run home runs, which is a big difference," Baker said. "(I was) just trying to do too much. That's the story of probably every pitcher. If you are able to stay within yourself and not try to do too much, then you have a lot better success than trying to throw the best breaking ball you've ever thrown. That's just not going to happen."
Monday was Baker's first start of the year, so the pitcher admitted he was a "little jumpy." He settled down, adjusted his mechanics and was able to throw his off-speed pitches for strikes for the remainder of his start, which lasted six innings. It was the longest start for a Minnesota pitcher this season.
"Unfortunately," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said, "the damage was done early, and we were never able to get back and catch up with them."
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