Baker shuts down Bronx Bombers in Twin win

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Scott Baker impressed the Twins by calmly
passing two tough tests -- a defective jock strap and a loaded
Yankees lineup.

Baker pitched seven strong innings in his first start against
New York, leading Minnesota to a 5-1 victory on Friday that
extended its winning streak to four.

"Regardless of who I'm facing, if I'm going to be nervous it's
not going to help the situation," said Baker (1-1), who gave up
one run, three hits and one walk while striking out four and
consistently getting ahead in the count.

The 24-year-old silenced an All-Star-laden offense that scored
40 runs while winning its previous four games, but perhaps more
impressive was the way he wiggled his way out of a tricky and, um,
embarrassing situation in the second inning.

"My jock broke, and my cup started to slide down my leg,"
Baker said, flashing a sheepish smile. "So I'm trying to get
permission from the umpire to run out and take it out quick."

He fetched a new one from the clubhouse between innings.

"Pretty interesting," Baker said, still smiling.

They weren't so happy over in the Yankees' clubhouse.

"He kept the ball off the fat of the bat really well," manager
Joe Torre said. "He lived up to his scouting report. But it comes
down to being able to do what you want to do, and it looked like he
was able to do that."

Baker turned in the Twins' second straight quality start, after
the staff went the first eight games without one. This was his 11th
major league start, though he pitched with just as much poise as
his far more accomplished foe, Minnesota killer Mike Mussina (1-1).

"What good is it going to do to show your emotion? They're
going to eat you up if they get a glimpse of any kind of distress
like that," Baker said.

The bottom five in the Twins' order went 8-for-18 with three
RBI and all five runs scored. Juan Castro and Justin Morneau each
went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Castro's single pushed the lead to 3-1, chasing Mussina in the
seventh. In the eighth against Kyle Farnsworth, Morneau drove in
Torii Hunter with a single and Tony Batista doubled in Morneau to
make it 5-1.

Those big hits made moot a missed fifth-inning call by plate
umpire Ed Montague.

Bernie Williams hit a medium fly to right fielder Lew Ford, who
charged, wound up and made a perfect one-hop throw to catcher Joe
Mauer. Jorge Posada used a textbook slide to sneak his hand on the
plate, and replays showed he eluded Mauer's sweep tag. But Montague
ruled him out, receiving a brief complaint from Posada and Torre.

"He calls it out. He sees it out. That is the way it goes,"
Posada said.

In the eighth against Juan Rincon, the Yankees had themselves to
blame for not scoring. Posada walked and Robinson Cano chopped a
single over Batista at third, but Williams bounced into a 4-6-3
double play. The inning ended on Johnny Damon's groundout.

Baker gave up a run in the third on an RBI groundout by Derek
Jeter, but he was steady throughout the night -- striking out Alex
Rodriguez twice.

"We definitely didn't know much about him," Damon said. "He
did a great job. We have to tip our hat to him. He didn't throw
anything in the middle part of the plate. He didn't make any
mistakes. He was getting in and out. He was throwing strikes up and

Mussina (1-1) was stuck with his third straight defeat to the
Twins, a team he's still 20-5 with a 3.17 ERA against in 28 starts.
Mussina allowed three runs, six hits and two walks in 6 2-3 innings
with five strikeouts.

"I did what I wanted to do with the ball most of the time. I
felt strong. I used all my pitches in almost any count," Mussina
said. "I had almost seven innings and gave up six singles. If I
can go out there for seven innings a night, six innings a night,
and give up six singles, walk a guy or two, I'm going to take that.
That's not bad. These guys are going to score runs."

Game notes
After lasting only five innings and 87 pitches because of
fatigue in Thursday's win over Kansas City, Randy Johnson will make
his next start, Torre said. The lanky lefty will pitch Tuesday at
Toronto, skipping ahead of Shawn Chacon in the rotation. ... A
beachball landed in left field in the fifth inning, forcing the
nearest ballboy to sprint over and fetch it. But instead of
performing the familiar puncture, he tossed it back in the seats.
The ballboy got several fist bumps when he returned to the Twins'
bullpen. ... Minnesota planed to promote veteran OF Ruben Sierra on
Tuesday. Sierra, who spent the last two seasons with New York,
stayed behind for extended spring training to strengthen his
strained quadriceps. ... LHP Matt Smith made his major league debut
for the Yankees in the eighth. ... Luis Castillo's errant throw to
Morneau ended a span of 239 total chances without an error, dating
to April 6. ... Minnesota DH Rondell White went 0-for-4 with a
strikeout and a double-play groundout. He's batting .079 (3-for-38)
with one double and two RBI.