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Cervelli throws away chance for double play, error in 11th gives Twins 2-1 win over Yankees

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MINNEAPOLIS - New York Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli made sure of the important first out at home in the 11th inning. By the time he turned to try for a double play, his rushed attempt went awry.

Cervelli's throwing error allowed Josh Willingham to score from second base, giving the Minnesota Twins a 2-1 victory Saturday.

"We got to make one out first and then when I tried to turn the double play, I just have to eat the ball," Cervelli said. "If I dont have vision, I have to stop."

Cervelli had two hits and drove in the Yankees' lone run after being inserted into the lineup in a late change for Brian McCann, who complained of foot soreness following batting practice.

But Cervelli said the ball slipped from his hands as he tried to end the 11th inning following Trevor Plouffe's dribbler with the bases loaded. Reliever Matt Thornton (1-1) flipped it to Cervelli for the forceout at home.

As Cervelli turned to try for the double play, Plouffe obscured his line of sight and the New York catcher sailed a throw way over the head of first baseman Mark Teixeira and Willingham raced home with the winning run. Cervelli said he tried to hold back on his throw, but the ball slipped out of his hand.

"We don't want to end the games like that, especially myself," Cervelli said. "Next time I've got to make a little clear, talking about my vision to first base. If I don't have it, I have to just eat the ball."

McCann had X-rays before the game, which turned out negative, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi said McCann might be forced to miss Sunday's game against the Twins.

"The X-rays came back good, negative, so that's encouraging," Girardi said. "Obviously he may not play again tomorrow. We'll wait to see how he feels. It's not what you want, but the long-term aspect I don't think it's a big deal. But short term, he may be out a few days."

Cervelli — who entered the series with five hits this season — has five hits in the past two games. He put the Yankees ahead in the fifth with a single to left off Minnesota starter Yohan Pino, scoring Ichiro Suzuki.

Pino allowed just three hits, two walks and one run in six innings, though, after New York gave up six the previous game with eight extra-base hits. The Yankees had seven hits Saturday: all singles.

"I'm not really sure," Girardi said about the offence. "It's a guy that we've never seen before. He has that turn that can sometimes create deception. We didn't do much against him."

New York starter David Phelps went seven innings and allowed one run, three hits and two walks.

Phelps had retired 11 straight before Willingham snapped an 0-for-14 skid with a homer to left that tied the game at 1 in the seventh inning. Before Willingham's drive, Phelps had only allowed one runner to reach second base.

The victory snapped a seven-game home skid against the Yankees and was just Minnesota's fourth win against New York in 17 games at Target Field.

"Anytime we lose, they all sting the same," Phelps said. "We're out there grinding and there's going to be games where we don't score a lot of runs. That's why it's frustrating for me to go out and give up a leadoff home run in the seventh. Just put up a zero there and we can put that game away with our bullpen."

Pinch-hitter Chris Colabello doubled off the wall in right field to lead off the 11th, missing a game-ending homer by inches. Thornton then intentionally walked Willingham and hit Oswaldo Arcia with a pitch before the game-ending error.

NOTES: Despite the fact that Derek Jeter has helped knock Minnesota out of the playoffs four times, Twins fans gave the retiring Yankees shortstop a standing ovation during a pregame ceremony. The Twins presented Jeter with the second base bag used during the final game played at the Metrodome. ... Minnesota's Ricky Nolasco (5-6, 5.49 ERA) faces Hiroki Kuroda (5-6, 4.08) in Sunday's series finale.

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