MINNEAPOLIS -- Forgive Twins manager Ron Gardenhire if he'd seen this one before.
Gardenhire -- this time watching from his office after being tossed in the first inning after a controversial reversal of a two-run homer by Justin Morneau -- couldn't help but be frustrated with his team's performance Thursday night against the Yankees.
Twins left-hander Brian Duensing was burned by the long ball, as he served up three homers, and the defense had several miscues yet again in an 8-4 loss to the Yankees at Target Field.
Minnesota kept its struggles against New York alive, as the club has now lost 20 of 23 to the Yankees, including a pair of three-game sweeps in the American League Division Series in '09 and '10.
"It was kind of the same night we've seen too many times," Gardenhire said. "We walked too many guys, missed plays, and gave them extra outs, which always hurts you. Duensing got behind in counts, and left some fastballs up, and they deposited them. So it's just a situation we keep talking about."
Duensing's biggest problem was he simply couldn't keep the ball in the park against the high-powered Yankees, falling behind the count too often, and they made him pay to the tune of six runs on 10 hits and a walk over five frames.
"They have very good pitch selection," Duensing said. "They're very aware of the zone. Tonight, I was behind in the zone a lot, and up in the zone a lot. When you're behind and up at the same time, it takes away the advantage from the pitcher and gives them the advantage."
The Yankees struck first in the second inning, coming on a sacrifice fly from Brett Gardner hit to Joe Mauer -- making his first career start in right field -- after a pair of back-to-back singles from Eduardo Nunez and Francisco Cervelli.
Mark Teixeira was the first to homer, crushing his 33rd blast of the year in the third to score Curtis Granderson, who led off the frame with a triple off the glove of Ben Revere in left-center field.
Duensing later gave up back-to-back homers to Nick Swisher and Andruw Jones in the fifth inning. Swisher's two-run homer was his 15th of the year, and Jones' solo shot was his eighth.
Duensing was visibly frustrated with himself after serving up the homer to Jones, on a 3-1 pitch.
"I was basically telling myself, 'It figures. That's what happens,'" Duensing said. "I was behind the count to basically every single hitter."
The offensive firepower from the Yankees came after the Twins appeared to take an early lead against CC Sabathia in the first inning, when Morneau laced what was originally ruled a two-run homer. But after an official review, the umpires reversed the call, as they contended that video replay showed he pulled it just foul down the right-field line.
Gardenhire was then ejected for arguing, and Morneau also disagreed with the call and thought it changed the game, as it erased a 2-0 lead.
"I thought it went over the top of the foul pole and thought it was a home run," Morneau said. "The only replay I've looked at showed the ball disappearing behind the foul pole on the other side. I haven't seen the replay they saw that they said went in front of the foul pole, but I don't know. The only thing I saw was home run, but that's life."
So while Yankees manager Joe Girardi unsurprisingly agreed with the decision to overturn the homer, he too thought it was a potentially game-changing call.
"It's huge. It's the first inning, you're going to give up two runs and be down in the first inning," Girardi said. "That's a big call."
The Twins, though, did manage to score two runs in the second after Jim Thome walked and Danny Valencia doubled to open the inning. Tsuyoshi Nishioka brought home Thome with a single before Drew Butera added an RBI on a fly ball that dropped just in front of the glove of a diving Granderson in center, which fooled Nishioka, who was forced out at second base.
Sabathia settled down after his shaky start until running into trouble again in the seventh inning. Nishioka, Butera and Revere started it off with three consecutive singles to score a run before Trevor Plouffe reached on an error from Nunez at third base to load the bases.
Mauer then brought home a second run with a sacrifice fly to left field, but Morneau lined out sharply to right field and Thome grounded out on an impressive diving play from second baseman Robinson Cano in shallow right field to end the inning.
Despite the late rally against Sabathia, who allowed four runs on 10 hits and a walk over seven frames with nine strikeouts, the Twins were held scoreless over the final two innings to lose for the 10th time over their last 13 games.
"He was throwing the ball pretty hard all night," Morneau said of Sabathia. "I thought the guys had some pretty good at-bats. We had four [runs] off him. And that's more a lot of teams have done so far this year. But it wasn't enough. We had our chances."