Twins and Yankees suspended after 5 innings

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The first rain delay in Target Field history has given way to the first suspension.

Umpires suspended the game Tuesday night between the New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins with the teams scoreless after five innings.

After a delay of one hour, 23 minutes, the game was suspended.

The game will resume in the top of the sixth inning on Wednesday at 4:10 p.m. Central time. The second game of the series will either begin at its regularly scheduled time of 6:10 p.m. or 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.

Heavy rain started to fall in about the third inning and was accompanied by several lightning strikes as the game progressed. Umpires finally called for the tarp after Orlando Hudson struck out to end the fifth.

The Twins moved outdoors to Target Field this season after 28 years under the protective roof of the Metrodome. The Twins have already had one game postponed — on May 7 against Baltimore. But this was the first time a game was delayed while in progress.

The last outdoor delay in Minnesota was a 48-minute pause at Met Stadium on Sept. 26, 1981 against Texas.

Fans headed to the covered concourses seeking shelter, but plenty donned parkas and rain gear and sat out in the elements, enjoying their part in a quirky little moment of history.

The Twins had some fun as the delay stretched well past an hour, playing an "All-By-Myself" cam to Eric Carmen's famous song of sorrow, showing fans that were sitting in the stands all alone.

Thanks to the pitching of New York's A.J. Burnett and Minnesota's Scott Baker, neither team put a run on the board in the first five innings, which would have allowed the umpires to call it off and put it in the books as a complete game.

Burnett allowed three hits and struck out five, getting Michael Cuddyer to ground out to shortstop with Denard Span on third base in the first inning to end the only real threat he faced.

It was an encouraging sign for the Yankees, who had dropped five of their last six games thanks due in part to the struggles of Burnett and first baseman Mark Teixeira. Burnett allowed 16 earned runs and went 0-2 in his previous three starts and Teixeira entered the night on a 2-for-28 skid.

Baker had been equally shaky, allowing 18 hits and eight earned runs in losing both of his previous two starts. But he was sharp against the Yankees on Tuesday night, allowing three hits and only one baserunner past first base.

This came two starts after getting tagged for five runs on 10 hits in six innings in the Bronx, another in the Twins' long line of losses to the Yankees.

The Twins had lost nine in a row, including three in a postseason sweep last fall, to the Yankees before finally breaking through in the Bronx on May 16. Indomitable closer Mariano Rivera walked in a run with the bases loaded and then gave up a grand slam to slumping Jason Kubel in the stunning rally, snapping a string of 51 straight converted saves at home for Rivera.

It was a huge sigh of relief for the Twins, who are 15-43 against the Yankees since Ron Gardenhire took over as manager in 2002.

But these haven't been the same Yankees of late. New York stumbled into Minnesota having dropped five of its last six games to fall 5½ games behind the Tampa Bay Rays.

Injuries to Jorge Posada, Curtis Granderson and Nick Johnson haven't helped either.

Before the game, Yankees manager Joe Girardi described the slide as a typical swoon in a long baseball season and hardly seemed concerned about his veteran team turning things around.

The closest the offense came on Tuesday night was in the fourth, when they had runners on runners on first and second with nobody out. Teixeira popped out to second base, and then a squirrel threw a wrench into New York's rally.

The varmint somehow found his way on to the field, causing a brief delay as he charged toward Twins third baseman Brendan Harris. The squirrel made a U-turn and headed to the outfield wall to seek shelter from the rain and ran the entire warning track as the crowd chanted, "Let's go squirrel! Let's go squirrel!"

On the very next pitch following the momentary delay, Baker struck out Alex Rodriguez, then got Robinson Cano to fly out to center to end the inning.

The squirrel stayed on the field for most of the fifth inning before ducking out of sight.

NOTES: Girardi said Javy Vazquez's bullpen session on Tuesday went well and he will start on Thursday in the series finale. Vazquez has been bothered by a bruised right index finger. ... Twins RHP Clay Condrey had another MRI on his injured shoulder, which has kept him out all season. Gardenhire said the test showed more inflammation and that doctors would confer before deciding the next step.