Day after rain, Jeter homer sinks Twins
Yanks star's sixth-inning drive allows Burnett to collect win
MINNEAPOLIS -- Derek Jeter couldn't say whether he enjoyed his solo home run or the run-saving jump-throw more, but one thing was certain. Both of his sixth-inning actions helped lift the Yankees to victory.
Jeter's tiebreaking solo blast off left-hander Brian Duensing helped make a winner of A.J. Burnett as the Yankees completed their rain-suspended game at Target Field, edging the Twins with a 1-0 decision on Wednesday afternoon.
The game had no score when heavy downpours paused play on Tuesday, and when the Yankees came back to bat in the top of the sixth inning, Jeter broke the tie with a long solo drive to left-center.
"I hit it pretty good, that's all you can say," Jeter said. "I didn't hit too many in batting practice, so I can't really tell how well the ball is carrying. The bottom line is, you hit it well and it goes out, regardless of where you play. You just may not get some of the balls that went out of the Metrodome to go out here."
That put Burnett in line for the victory, his first since May 4 at Baltimore. Burnett limited Minnesota to three hits in five innings before the first rain delay in Target Field history, walking two and striking out five in a 75-pitch outing.
"I didn't even realize that," Jeter said of Burnett's win. "You sort of forget about it because it's a continuation game. He owes me, I guess."
The Yankees needed to get four innings out of their bullpen, and those proved eventful. Dave Robertson had perhaps the most notable outing, as Joe Mauer rocketed a ball off the right-hander's rear end that ricocheted to third baseman Alex Rodriguez for a putout.
After Robertson allowed a walk and a Jason Kubel double, Jeter backed him up with a jump-throw from shortstop on a Delmon Young grounder, ending the inning.
"He's made it as good as anyone I've ever seen," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's an impressive play. Delmon Young, I know he's not Denard Span, but he still runs pretty good."
Girardi turned to Joba Chamberlain to get the final out of the seventh inning, and Chamberlain retired the side around trouble in the eighth, leaving two men on when he got Young to ground out.
That brought Mariano Rivera on for a save opportunity, and though the outing included a deep flyout off J.J. Hardy's bat and a walk to pinch-hitter Jim Thome, Rivera got Span to hit into a game-ending double play for his ninth save.
"It's a good win for us," Girardi said. "We have not swung the bats great lately, but to win a game 1-0, the pitching stepped up -- Robby, Joba and Mo."
Girardi said that, even with a night game on Wednesday, he was not tempted to stay away from using Chamberlain or Rivera.
"When you've got a chance to win, you win now," Girardi said. "You don't know what the circumstances are going to be at 9:30."
Play on Tuesday was interrupted after the conclusion of the fifth inning, with the tarpaulin being pulled out at 9:32 p.m. ET. It was the first weather-related delay of a Twins home game since Sept. 26, 1981, at old Metropolitan Stadium.
Burnett weaved out of trouble in his five innings, getting fielder's-choice grounders with two men on in the first two innings. Span's grounder to end the second inning started a string of nine straight retired by Burnett.
The Yankees were limited to three hits in five innings by Minnesota starter Scott Baker, who walked one and struck out two with 50 economical pitches.
Baker induced double plays from both Mark Teixeira and Cano, and he also pitched out of a two-on, none-out jam in the fourth by retiring the next three hitters in order.
Jeter said the victory could help the Yankees carry some momentum into the regularly scheduled game, with Andy Pettitte on the hill.
"It's a whole lot better when you win the first game, as opposed to losing it," Jeter said. "We'll forget about this one and come out. Hopefully Andy pitches well, but we felt this was a huge game."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.