Twins homers drown Yankees in rain-shortened game

NEW YORK (AP) -- Crack! Alex Rodriguez connected on a big swing
and sent a long drive soaring toward the black batter's eye beyond
the center-field fence.

It definitely sounded like a home run. And right off the bat, it
looked like a no-doubter.

Not on this day, though.

Torii Hunter took a few steps back, stopped in his tracks and
calmly waited as a fierce wind pushed the ball down until it landed
softly in his glove.

"That's as good as I can hit it," Rodriguez said. "I really
thought it was going somewhere."

A gusting wind also kept Robinson Cano's deep drive in the
ballpark, and the Minnesota Twins beat the New York Yankees 6-1
Saturday in a game called during the eighth inning because of rain.

"We all saw the conditions. They were pretty ugly," Minnesota
manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I'm glad we got through the day and
no one got killed."

Scott Baker shut down New York's loaded lineup for the second
time this season, pitching the Twins to only their second victory
in their past 14 games at Yankee Stadium.

Justin Morneau hit a three-run homer for Minnesota and Hunter
also connected -- two line shots that cut right through the wind
from the remnants of Tropical Storm Ernesto.

"My ball found a tunnel," Hunter said. "I must have been

Minnesota, which began the day a half-game behind Chicago in the
AL wild-card race, had lost four of five. But after scoring no more
than three runs in their previous five games, the Twins outhit New
York 10-2 and got effective work from a pair of relievers.

The Yankees remained eight games ahead of second-place Boston in
the AL East.

Recalled from the minors Friday, Baker (4-7) allowed only two
hits in five innings for his first big league win since July 17
against Tampa Bay.

"He throws up in the zone really well," Rodriguez said. "He
works up unusually often for a young pitcher."

Baker also beat Mike Mussina and the Yankees 5-1 on April 14 in
Minnesota, yielding just three hits in seven innings.

This time, he defeated rookie Jeff Karstens (1-1) in a matchup
of 23-year-old right-handers.

Making his Yankee Stadium debut, Karstens was impressive. Coming
off a road win against the Los Angeles Angels, he gave up only two
runs and six hits in seven innings.

"He's good," Hunter said. "That curveball is sick."

Still, Karstens was handed his first loss at any level since May
9 with Triple-A Columbus. And with Mussina ready to come off the
disabled list, Karstens might not get another start for a while.

"I was very impressed by him being able to keep his composure
through the bad weather and all," Yankees catcher Sal Fasano said.
"He controlled the game for the most part."

Minnesota lefty Dennys Reyes worked 1 2/3 perfect innings and
Jesse Crain got one out for his second major league save -- his
first this season.

With a steady rain intensifying, umpires halted play after Crain
walked pinch-hitter Bernie Williams to start the bottom of the

The game was called after a 44-minute delay.

Paid attendance was 53,220, but most of the seats at Yankee
Stadium were empty on a blustery afternoon.

The wind wreaked havoc with popups and fly balls all day, though
the heavy residual rain that was expected from Ernesto held off
until the late innings.

"I was scared," Hunter said. "You don't play in wind like
that every day."

Joe Mauer's first-inning single set up Michael Cuddyer's shallow
sacrifice fly, putting Minnesota ahead.

The Yankees tied it in the third on a two-out RBI double by
Derek Jeter, which extended his hitting streak to 13 games --
matching his season high.

Hunter hit his 22nd homer in the fourth, a solo shot for a 2-1

Rodriguez made solid contact in the bottom half, but the wind
turned his drive into an easy out.

Hunter mouthed "Wow!" after making the catch. A-Rod shook his
head in disbelief, smiled as he rounded first and told manager Joe
Torre he had crushed it.

"Any other day, I'm telling you, that would have hit that black
stuff out there," Hunter said. "That would have been one of the
longest home runs ever in this stadium."

New York reliever Ron Villone walked Mauer with one out in the
eighth, and Cuddyer singled before Morneau lined an 0-2 pitch the
other way for his 33rd home run. The three RBI gave him 114 for
the season.

Hunter singled and scored on Brian Bruney's wild pitch, making
it 6-1.

Game notes
Baker entered 1-7 in 10 starts with a 6.38 ERA against
opponents he had faced before. ... Mussina (strained right groin)
is scheduled to come off the disabled list in time to start Tuesday
night in Kansas City.