NEW YORK -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire knows his team is typically better off when the opposing starter isn't a left-hander -- especially when that lefty is Yankees ace CC Sabathia.
After all, the Twins -- led by left-handed sluggers Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau -- hadn't defeated Sabathia since July 29, 2007, entering play Sunday. In 12 starts against the Twins before Sunday's first-half finale -- including the postseason -- the Yankees' southpaw went 11-0 with a 2.01 ERA.
"He's a horse," Gardenhire said. "We put anyone in there today that has any numbers against him. We are a left-handed-hitting team, so that makes it a little tougher for us. Our big guys are the big lefties and they don't have good numbers on him -- and you don't say that about Mauer and Morneau too often."
Morneau entered play just a .128 (6-for-47) lifetime hitter with one home run compared to 10 strikeouts against Sabathia. As for Mauer, the Twins catcher came in having struck out more times against Sabathia (17) than any other big league pitcher. He had also been limited to a .178 (8-for-45) career average while failing to homer against the former Cy Young Award winner.
Minnesota's lineup on Sunday, however, had a few players who had experienced rare success against Sabathia. Third baseman Jamey Carroll, 4-for-10 in his career against Sabathia, hit eighth in the series finale, while designated hitter Trevor Plouffe (3-for-9) and center fielder Clete Thomas (3-for-6) hit fifth and seventh, respectively.
"We've faced him a lot of times," Gardenhire said. "So we put the guys, like I said, with the most at-bats against him and who at least have some numbers, and we'll take our shot."
Arcia among three Twins sent to Minors
NEW YORK -- After putting a close to a disappointing first-half with a 10-4 victory over the Yankees, the Twins on Sunday decided to shuffle up their roster heading into the All-Star break.
Following the game, Minnesota optioned outfielders Oswaldo Arcia and Chris Parmelee, as well as infielder Eduardo Escobar, to Triple-A Rochester. In their place, the club recalled catcher Chris Herrmann and selected the contract of utility infielder Doug Bernier. Manager Ron Gardenhire said the team will announce the third promotion sometime before Friday's game against the Indians.
Gardenhire declined to answer when asked if the move was being delayed until after the Triple-A All-Star Game, set to be played on Wednesday. Rochester's lone position player representative in that game is Chris Colabello, who is hitting .354 with 24 home runs and 76 RBIs.
"They need to go swing, all of them do," Gardenhire said of the trio. "They're going to be a big part of our baseball team in the second half, but right now, they need to go swing."
The roster shuffle comes with Arcia mired in an 0-for-18 slump in his last four games. The 22-year-old has also struck out in 11 of his last 13 at-bats. Parmelee, too, has been scuffling at the plate, recording just one hit in his last 22 at-bats, lowering his season average to .223. As for Escobar, the infielder recently snapped out of an 0-for-16 slump with a two-hit performance Wednesday against the Rays, but is hitting just .214 on the year.
Gardenhire did not offer a timetable on how long any of the demotions might last, instead stressing the importance of each player finding his swing in the Minors.
"The most important of this whole deal is -- yes, we're shaking things up -- but the most important part is to get these kids right, because they're our future," Gardenhire said. "This is what we're counting on. We have plans for these guys to be a part of it and they need to be right. Right now, they're struggling."
Gardy stands by pitch-count decision in no-no
NEW YORK -- In the wake of Giants righty Tim Lincecum throwing 148 pitches in his no-hitter on Saturday night -- the second-most pitches in a no-hitter dating back to 1947 -- Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire said he still stands by his decision three years ago to lift then-Twins starter Kevin Slowey after seven no-hit innings.
On Aug. 15, 2010, Slowey had not allowed a hit to the Athletics while striking out five and walking three through seven frames. The problem was he had already surpassed the 90-pitch limit he was on after missing his prior start due to shoulder issues.
"I was the bad guy. We said his pitch count was going to be 90 pitches and he has a no-hitter going, and he's got like 90 in the sixth," Gardenhire said. "I'm like, 'We can't put him back in.' He had just come [back from a shoulder injury], so I take him out with a no-hitter going."
With Slowey at 107 pitches through seven, Gardenhire turned the game over to the bullpen, which promptly served up two runs off a pair of hits in the eighth. By comparison, Lincecum had thrown 114 pitches through seven frames Saturday night before tossing 17 each in the eighth and ninth innings.
"I got hammered for it," Gardenhire said. "But, you know what? I'll take a career over getting hammered. Our job was going to be to protect him."
Pelfrey to lead Twins' rotation coming out of break
NEW YORK -- The Twins have set their rotation coming out of the All-Star break, with Mike Pelfrey, Kevin Correia and Scott Diamond set to take the hill in the club's three-game set against the Indians. Pelfrey will get the call for Friday's series opener at Target Field, followed by Correia on Saturday and Diamond on Sunday.
Rookie Kyle Gibson and right-hander Samuel Deduno will fill out the rest of the rotation, respectively, with Gibson starting the series opener in Anaheim. Deduno will take the hill in the second game of the three-game series against the Angels before it comes back around to Pelfrey for the series finale.