MINNEAPOLIS -- With All-Star closer Glen Perkins coming in to protect a one-run lead in the ninth inning Saturday and the Twins' most consistent starter, Kyle Gibson, pitching Sunday, a series win over the Yankees looked inevitable. After all, the Twins had beaten up on New York the night before in a 10-1 rout, breaking out of the offensive slumber that had plagued them in their previous series.
But Perkins struggled with his location, blowing the save en route to a loss on Saturday and Gibson, who mostly cruised through the first five innings Sunday, had command problems in a six-run sixth as the Twins fell to the Yankees, 7-2, at Target Field.
"That's why you don't get excited. You worry about today. We got the 10 runs the first game. We got a cushion early in the game yesterday and they came back and won and had that momentum, [which] carried over for today," right fielder Torii Hunter said. "I thought, 'We got the run early, hopefully we can hold them down,' but those guys are so smart over there. They've been around a long time. They know how to play, so any kind of mistakes that you make, they take advantage of it."
And they did. Gibson, who said he felt pretty good up until the sixth in allowing just one run, was unable to execute his pitches and the Yankees stayed patient before eventually making him pay.
Gibson allowed a leadoff single to Brett Gardner before walking both Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann, throwing eight of nine pitches out of the strike zone to the latter two. He rebounded by striking out Carlos Beltran, and the hope for the Twins was that the righty, who possesses a good sinker, could induce a double play to limit the damage.
"I felt like I was able to put myself in a situation where I can make one pitch and get out of it. I just never really made that pitch," Gibson said. "I thought in the situation that I had made the pitch."
And with Nathan Eovaldi keeping the Twins at bay, mixing his offspeed pitches well with a lethal fastball, one lopsided inning sunk the Twins for the second straight night.
"Really kind of turned what I felt like was going to be a pretty decent day into a pretty sour day," Gibson said. "Kind of happened quickly. It's unfortunate for the team because we had a chance there to battle back in the last couple innings, and unfortunately I put it out of reach."
The setback left the Twins waiting for their first series victory against New York since the opening of Target Field. The Yankees are now 16-5 in Minnesota since 2010.
"I think your perspective lies mostly with the fact you're trying to find a way to continue to play well at home and win games. We knew that they were playing well coming in," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We let one slip away yesterday, and sometimes those things carry over somewhat and so you take your medicine, you lose a series and then you've got to move on."
Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.