Yanks-Twins game to resume Wednesday
Contest tied in sixth inning when rain forces suspension
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Yankees couldn't have guessed that their first trip to the Twins' beautiful new ballpark, Target Field, would not only prove historic, but also end a little quicker than expected.
Heavy downpours prompted the first rain delay in the sparkling facility's brief history after five innings of play on Tuesday, with no score. The game was suspended heading to the top of the sixth and is scheduled to be resumed on Wednesday at 5:05 p.m. ET.
Wednesday's originally scheduled contest is to begin at either 7:10 p.m. or a half-hour following the conclusion of the suspended game, with Andy Pettitte pitching for New York and Francisco Liriano taking the mound for Minnesota.
The resumed game will be aired locally on My9. YES will televise the regularly scheduled game.
"I really like what baseball has done, where you don't start over," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's not the end of the world. We'll start in the sixth inning."
The tarpaulin was pulled out by the Twins' grounds crew at 9:32 p.m., marking the first weather-related delay of a Twins home game since Sept. 26, 1981, when Minnesota and the Texas Rangers had to pause for 48 minutes at old Metropolitan Stadium.
A delay of one hour and 23 minutes made it certain that neither starting pitcher would return if the game resumed on Tuesday, and for both teams, that was a shame.
Yankees starter A.J. Burnett weaved out of trouble in his five innings, getting fielder's-choice grounders with two men on in each of the first two innings.
Denard Span's grounder to end the second inning started a string of nine straight retired by Burnett, who scattered three hits over his 75 pitches, walking two and striking out five.
"I did feel like I was starting to feel a little better, but things happen for a reason," Burnett said. "It was fun while I was out there, I guess. We'll come in tomorrow and finish it up."
"He was really good," Girardi said. "He attacked the strike zone and got a lot of ground-ball outs. When he was going good, that's what he was doing. I would have liked to have seen him continue."
The Twins gave Burnett a scare in the third inning, when Justin Morneau thought he got all of what -- in the end -- would have turned out to be a game-winning solo home run. But the ball died just in front of the flower-box overhang in right field, landing safely in Nick Swisher's glove.
"I thought it had a shot -- I did," Girardi said. "I kept seeing Swish go back, back, back. It's got that overhang, too. I'm glad it didn't [go out]. That would have been bad. The ballpark has played big so far, and they've got some boys that can hit the ball out of the ballpark."
"He got more of it than I thought, but it's an out," said Burnett, who actually thought Morneau had popped the ball up at first.
Burnett joked that he might lobby Girardi to get back on the mound on Wednesday to continue, but the right-hander said he knew that wouldn't happen. After the delay crept 30 minutes deep, Burnett was done.
Instead, it is likely that Sergio Mitre will take over New York's pitching for the bottom of the sixth, leaving Burnett to take the positives into his next start, against the Indians on Sunday.
"After the first, I felt like I was in a pretty good groove," Burnett said. "It was good, obviously, going into my next start. I didn't overdo a lot out there tonight, and that was my main goal -- to not overthrow a single pitch."
The Yankees were limited to three hits in five innings by Minnesota right-hander Scott Baker, who walked one and struck out two in an economical 50-pitch outing.
Baker induced double plays from both Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano, and he pitched out of a two-on, none-out jam in the fourth by retiring the next three hitters in order.
"It's the ebb and flow of the season," Teixeira said. "Obviously, we haven't been swinging the bats like we're capable of, but everyone is working hard and trying to get the job done. I have a good feeling that we're going to bounce back."
Mother Nature might have cut the night short, but play was also interrupted by a furry intruder in the fourth inning, as a squirrel raced around the playing field and forced Alex Rodriguez to step out during an at-bat.
Yankees third-base coach Rob Thomson tried to shoo the squirrel off the field, but it dashed into left field, drawing loud fan reaction as play eventually continued.
"That was really the only action we had in a 0-0 ballgame," Teixeira said. "That was the only thing the crowd got excited about."
It was inevitable that someone would suggest the game could have been played if the Twins still called the Metrodome their home, but Girardi was quick to say that he wouldn't trade Target Field for its domed predecessor.
"This is a beautiful ballpark," Girardi said. "I've really enjoyed being here so far, for the five innings that we've been here."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.