Phelps goes four strong in loss to Twins

Right-hander takes another step toward claiming final spot in starting rotation
03/14/2014 4:43 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees first three hitters of the day all recorded a hit and later scored, but that was it - almost literally - for them in what turned out to be a 7-3 loss to the Twins at Steinbrenner Field.

Early on, it looked like a good day for the Yankees. David Phelps' fourth spring start was a solid if not dazzling start, as he threw 47 of his 75 pitches for strikes and allowed two runs on five hits over four innings. And, after Chris Colabello got Minnesota on the board with an RBI single in the top of the first, the Yankees struck back quickly; doubles by Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian Roberts and a Mark Teixeira single made it 2-1, and Tex later moved to third and scored on a pair of groundouts to make it 3-1 after one.

Then, the wheels came off.

Offensively, the Yankees had just three base-runners - and no hits - after scoring that third run. Ramon Flores walked with two outs in the first, Flores was then the next to reach with a one-out walk in the fourth, and Mark Teixeira walked to lead off the sixth, but Austin Romine followed that with a 5-4-3 double play and Twins relievers retired the final 10 in a row to end the game.

Meanwhile, the Twins got a solo homer from Brian Dozier in the third, tied the score off David Herndon (1 IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K), and then unloaded on Manny Banuelos; the lefty, making his second spring appearance, pitched just one-third of an inning, allowing four runs on two walks and two hits.

Fred Lewis (1 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 1 BB, 1K) was able to finish off the sixth for his fellow lefty and the trio of Dellin Betances (1 2/3 IP, 2 K) and James Pazos (1 IP, 1 K, hit batsman) finished it out, but the damage was already done.

With the loss, the Yankees drop to 8-7-2 in the Grapefruit League and 9-7-2 on the spring overall. Saturday is another double-dip, albeit a fun one; the stateside squad has Vidal Nuno on the mound for a 1:05 p.m. start with the Orioles in Sarasota, while Adam Warren will take the hill against the Marlins at 9:05 p.m. in the first game of the Legend Series in Panama City.

Follow us on Twitter @LouDiPietroYES and @YESNetwork for more. comments