MINNEAPOLIS -- Given the Twins' struggles against the Yankees in recent years, winning a series against New York would've been a nice end-of-year treat.
Instead, the Twins had to settle for just one win in their three-game series, as they dropped the finale, 8-2, on Wednesday afternoon, with Samuel Deduno exiting after just 1 2/3 innings because of irritation in his left eye.
Minnesota wanted to play the spoiler role against the American League East-leading Yankees, but it wasn't to be with ace CC Sabathia on the mound. It was another defeat to the Yankees, who have won 27 of the last 34 meetings between the two clubs, including the postseason.
"They've been tough on us," Twins catcher Joe Mauer said. "Up and down their lineup, they have veteran guys who know how to play the game and work counts. And the guy on the mound was pretty good today."
In fact, Mauer claimed that Sabathia looked as good as ever, which is quite the compliment, as Mauer entered the game having faced the lefty 41 times in his career dating back to 2004.
"That's the best I've seen him, and I've been watching him for a long time," said Mauer, who struck out the first three times he faced Sabathia on just nine pitches, going 0-for-4 vs. the lefty. "When I was up there, he was both sides of the plate -- fastball, slider, sinker -- he threw me everything, and everything was working."
It didn't help the Twins that Deduno exited the game early, as he held the Yankees hitless through 1 2/3 innings before leaving the game in favor of reliever Brian Duensing, who struggled.
Duensing ended up allowing six runs in the third inning, as he loaded the bases with one out and couldn't get out of the jam. Robinson Cano brought home the first two runs with a double before Nick Swisher brought home another with a single. Curtis Granderson followed with a two-run triple before scoring on a wild pitch.
"When they throw a six-spot on you, that's not how you want it go," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "They blooped some, they blopped some, and they hit some. We couldn't stop them in that inning."
Right-hander reliever Anthony Swarzak fared better, allowing two runs on three hits over 3 1/3 innings. But he served up a two-run homer to Chris Dickerson in the sixth.
Sabathia, meanwhile, dominated the Twins over eight strong innings. The left-hander struck out 10 and walked just one while giving up two runs on six hits, all singles.
"I think just having my fastball command is really where it starts," Sabathia said. "Being able to spot it up makes a big difference. Being able to come in, go away with it, I got some strikeouts with them looking on fastballs -- so being able to command that definitely helps."
Sabathia was able to snap a three-game losing streak in the process, and improved to 10-0 with a 1.96 ERA in his last 11 starts against the Twins, including the postseason.
"I just think his location is better," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "The slider was good today. I thought his fastball was really good today. The other day his changeup played a big role. It's just mixing his pitches."
The Twins scored first with an RBI single from Matt Carson in the second, but they didn't score again until the seventh, when Pedro Florimon plated a run on a single to right that deflected off Sabathia.
It was the only offense the Twins could muster against Sabathia in final meeting between the two clubs this season, as Minnesota still hasn't won a series against the Yankees since Aug. 11-13, 2008.
"He was on point today," right fielder Ben Revere said of Sabathia. "He was on his game. The ball was moving and he was throwing everything for strikes. So you have to tip your cap to him."