Nishioka breaks leg in loss to Yankees
NEW YORK (AP) -- Tsuyoshi Nishioka needs to learn how to elude American baserunners trying to break up double plays. That will have to wait awhile after the Minnesota Twins' heralded Japanese import broke his left leg Thursday in a 4-3 loss to the New York Yankees.
Nick Swisher slid into Nishioka at second base in the seventh inning. Nishioka was placed on the 15-day disabled list, and he will be examined by Dr. John Steubs on Friday in Minnesota as the Twins determine how long he will be out.
"It was a good play, breaking up the double play," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Not even an issue."
Nishioka, who signed a three-year, $9.25 million deal in December, was 0 for 4 with a strikeout Thursday to drop his average to .208. Matt Tolbert replaced Nishioka at second, and the Twins called up infielder Luke Hughes from Triple-A Rochester.
Shortstop Alexi Casilla said Nishioka would have to learn how his new counterparts in America try to disrupt double plays -- and to stay behind the bag while turning two.
"In Japan, they play clean," Casilla said. "They don't want to hurt anybody."
Swisher sought Nishioka out in the X-ray room after the game to apologize.
"He definitely eased my mind," Swisher said. "He told me, 'Hey, it's not your fault. Don't feel bad.' I know I play hard, but you never want to go in there trying to hurt anybody."
Derek Jeter passed Rogers Hornsby for 33rd place on baseball's all-time list with two hits, and the Yankees' relievers held off the Twins in their first game since blowing a big lead.
A.J. Burnett (2-0) improved to 7-0 in 12 April starts for the Yankees, allowing two runs on five hits in six innings. With the Yankees up 4-3, Rafael Soriano pitched a scoreless eighth two days after he surrendered a 4-0 lead in a game Minnesota won in extra innings.
New York won two out of three in the rain-shortened series. After Wednesday's rainout, manager Joe Girardi immediately gave Soriano another chance in his eighth-inning slot. Soriano allowed a leadoff single to Joe Mauer, then retired the Twins' 4-5-6 hitters to get the ball to Mariano Rivera. Rivera pitched a perfect ninth for his fourth save.
With Minnesota down 1-0, Justin Morneau and Jim Thome led off the top of the fourth with back-to-back doubles. Thome was a few feet from career home run No. 590 -- and his first of this season -- on a drive to straightaway center that was carried by the wind on a chilly afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
Minnesota took the lead two batters later when Gold Glover Mark Teixeira couldn't knock down Jason Kubel's sizzling ground ball down the first base line. The Twins' third double of the inning put them up 2-1.
But Francisco Liriano (0-2) walked Alex Rodriguez to open the bottom of the fourth. After Robinson Cano singled, Andruw Jones drove in the tying run with a one-out double. The Yankees went back on top when Russell Martin's grounder to first scored Cano. Brett Gardner's bloop single to right with two outs put New York up 4-2.
Liriano allowed four runs on four hits and three walks in five innings, striking out five.
"Liriano had that one bad inning that did him in," Gardenhire said. "Sometimes he falls in love with his slider."
Joba Chamberlain took over for the Yankees in the seventh. With one out, Casilla squared to bunt and had to leap out of the way of an inside pitch, and home plate umpire Larry Vanover ruled the ball grazed him. Casilla stole second, and Martin's throw ricocheted off him and into the outfield, allowing Casilla to advance to third with one out.
Denard Span's groundout to first drove in Casilla to pull the Twins within 4-3.
NOTES: Jeter went 2 for 3 to reach 2,931 hits, passing Hall of Famers Hornsby and Jake Beckley. ... Martin went tumbling head first over the barrier into the Twins dugout chasing a popup by Kubel in the second inning. Minnesota pitching coach Rick Anderson and bench coach Scott Ullger caught him before he hit the floor.