05/18/2002 02:23 am ET
Twins lose heartbreaker in NY
Contest featured 491 pitches over 14 innings
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Friday's Twins-Yankees game was one for the ages and it seemed like it would last that long.
The 14-inning battle Friday night lasted nearly six hours with a combined 491 pitches thrown, 40 base hits, and 25 men left on base.
Those who remained at a cold and rainy Yankee Stadium saw an amazing game they'll likely never forget. The Yankees gave the Twins everything they had and Twins held on and returned with just as much gusto to hang around.
Finally, the Twins broke through in the top of the 14th and went up 12-9. It seemed like a win was finally in their grasp.
"Bam, boom, bang," Twins left fielder Jacque Jones said. "We scored three runs and they scored four."
It was a scene that couldn't be scripted better for a movie, with the rain in downpour mode and the bases loaded for the Yankees, Jason Giambi drove a grand slam off Minnesota reliever Mike Trombley into the seats and gave New York the 13-12 win.
"Nobody quit," Giambi said. "It would have been real easy to say, 'They scored three, let's pack it in and come back tomorrow,' but we never did."
The Twins were stunned with disbelief following the game.
"I don't know what you call that -- a hell of a ballgame," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Unfortunately, it didn't work out for us. We did about everything we could possibly do."
Through the first five innings, the Yankees banged out four home runs to account for all of their early scoring and an 8-3 lead. The Twins never quit and countered by using base hits and "small ball" to amass six runs in the sixth and take the lead.
Two outs from victory in the ninth, Bernie Williams added home run No. 5 when he crushed an Eddie Guardado offering for the game-tying homer. It was the Twins closer's first blown save of the year after making 14 straight.
Still, the Twins hung in there and settled in for the long haul of extra innings.
In the 11th inning, Gardenhire turned to struggling right-hander Jack Cressend to be the seventh Twins pitcher. Cressend entered with a 7.58 ERA and it was up to him to stave off the Yankees.
The Twins and Cressend survived everything the Yankees threw at them. There were two bases-loaded jams that were fought off in the 11th and 13th innings.
"You can't give in," Cressend said. "You can't give up a run. I just tried to dig deep and give it everything I had. I was running on empty. Those were pretty ugly innings. The bottom line is you put a zero on the board and give yourself a chance. It was a long, hard fought game."
When he came out after the 13th inning, Cressend had gone a season-long three innings and had thrown 64 pitches.
"That was just a situation where you just have to take one for the team," Cressend said. "In that situation, you know you have to give your team some innings. They sure were eventful innings."
Gardenhire praised Cressend's hard-fought effort. He had to send pitching coach Rick Anderson to the mound just so he could get a breather in the 13th.
"He hung in there," Gardenhire said. "He got through some jams. That was about as much as we could do with him. He was gassed to say the least. He pitched through a lot of tough innings and a lot of jams. He was done."
The entire Twins team was well spent after dropping a heartbreaker like that one.
"Even my computer is tired," Gardenhire quietly joked, staring at the laptop on his desk.
Many people, including Jones had never experienced a game quite like this one.
"It's a tribute to both teams and the depth we both had," Jones said. "They had to make some moves late in the game. We had to make so moves. Their pitchers did a heck of a job and our pitcher did a heck of a job. It just came down to who was up last."
Mark Sheldon covers the Twins for MLB.com and can be reached at
This article was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.