MINNEAPOLIS -- The Yankees, at least by their standards this season, exploded for 13 combined runs in the first two games of their series with the Twins.
They came spiraling back to earth Saturday in a 2-1 loss to the Twins.
The Yankees ranked 19th in the MLB in runs prior to Saturday’s game, an average of 4.04 runs per game, and they didn’t help their cause with their performance at the plate.
This lack of offensive production, something that has plagued the team for much of the season, will surely catch up with New York in the long run.
In the end, though, it was the Yankees' defense that led to their demise. Trying to turn an inning-ending double play, Francisco Cervelli air-mailed a throw to first in the bottom of the 11th, and Josh Willingham scored the game-winning run.
TWINS HONOR THE CAPTAIN: The Twins honored Derek Jeter on Saturday afternoon with a five-minute pregame ceremony before the third game of the four-game set at Target Field.
It started with a brief montage of Jeter moments shown on the big board and ended with Twins second baseman Brian Dozier presenting Jeter with the last second base bag ever used at the Metrodome.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire spoke during the ceremony and called it an “honor” to compete against Jeter throughout his career. Paul Molitor also presented Jeter a $10,000 check for his foundation during the pregame festivities.
In his career against Minnesota, prior to Saturday's game, Jeter had batted .321 with 59 RBIs and 13 home runs.
PHELPS PICKS UP THE SLACK: David Phelps was by no means flashy on the mound Saturday afternoon, but he was productive. He pitched seven innings in the game and ate up enough innings to give the bullpen some rest -- something Yankees starters have struggled to do as of late.
“They don’t ever go out thinking, 'I only want to pitch three innings,'” manager Joe Girardi said of his starting pitchers before the game. “They go out thinking they’re going to pitch nine innings. We do need some distance from David this afternoon.”
Phelps did just that for the Yankees.
GARDENHIRE LOSES HIS COOL: Gardenhire was ejected in the top of the third inning Saturday after arguing what he thought was a balk from Phelps on a pickoff attempt at first base.
It was Gardenhire’s third ejection this season and the 70th of his career.
MCCANN SCRATCHED: Brian McCann was originally supposed to play Saturday afternoon and bat third for the Yankees, but the 30-year-old catcher was a late scratch.
Cervelli filled in behind the plate and came up big with an RBI single in the top of the fifth inning that scored Ichiro Suzuki from third base, though his errant throw in the 11th ended the game in the Twins' favor.
WILLINGHAM RAKES: The Twins couldn’t solve Phelps for a majority of Saturday afternoon, then Willingham took matters into his own hands.
Willingham led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a solo blast that landed in the left-field bleachers about 398 feet from home plate.
It was his eighth home run of the season and the third long ball a Yankees pitcher had surrendered in the series.
'NO WORRIES. I GOT US': Jacoby Ellsbury surely saved a run in the bottom of the eighth inning with runners on first and second and nobody out.
Chris Parmelee lifted a fly ball into center field and it looked, for a moment, like it was going to drop for a base hit.
Ellsbury had other plans, though, and flashed the leather with a diving catch that held the runners at their posts.
The Yankees got out of the inning unharmed two batters later.
GAME OF INCHES: Colabello pinch hit for Parmelee in the bottom of 11th inning and nearly ended the game with one swing of the bat.
Colabello jacked a fly ball to deep right field and the ball caromed off the wall, inches from going over the fence, racing in for a stand-up double. He was forced out at home a few batters later.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Yankees will look to take three of four from the Twins on Sunday afternoon.