MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — As he inched closer to a no-hitter, Jake Odorizzi was ready to throw 140 pitches if needed. He was nearing his career high against the New York Yankees, but was confident he could talk Minnesota Twins manager Paul Molitor into leaving him in for the ninth inning if it got to that point.
Odorizzi never made it that far.
His no-hit bid was broken up when Greg Bird laced a run-scoring double with one out in the eighth, and the Twins beat the Yankees 3-1 Wednesday night to take two of three from New York.
The Yankees’ lead over Oakland for the top AL wild card was cut to one game as they completed a 4-5 trip.
A tiring Odorizzi walked Luke Voit before Bird lined the next pitch deep into the left-center gap. Odorizzi was immediately pulled and he tipped his cap to the crowd as he walked off to a standing ovation.
“It’s been a tough year. There’s no if ands or buts about it,” Odorizzi said. “So it’s good to have one of these outings toward the end, feel the energy, show them kind of what I’m capable of doing.”
Odorizzi (6-10) struck out five and walked three, matching his big league high of 120 pitches set while pitching for Tampa Bay against the Twins on June 3, 2016.
There was no hesitation on Molitor’s part as he went to take out his starter after Odorizzi finally allowed a hit in the eighth. Odorizzi needed just seven pitches to get through the seventh, but that brought his pitch count to 109 entering the eighth.
“It was a good kind of stress for me, trying to negotiate with Jake in between innings,” Molitor said. “No one wants to see anyone get hurt, but he’s a veteran. He said he felt great, and I know he would be smart about trying to find ways to take it a pitch at a time, a hitter at a time.”
Taylor Rogers relieved Odorizzi and promptly struck out Gleyber Torres before Trevor Hildenberger fanned Andrew McCutchen. Hildenberger finished for his sixth save.
Luis Severino (17-8) allowed one run and four hits in 5 2/3 innings, dropping to 3-6 in his last 11 starts. Severino unsuccessfully tried to persuade manager Aaron Boone to keep him in the game in the sixth.
“He wanted to stay in the game. I’m fine with my guys wanting to stay in the game,” Boone said. “He was very pitch efficient. Obviously it wasn’t a pitch count issue, it was just starting to get a little away and he’s in the fight right now. I respect the hell out of that.”
Severino permitted one hit in the first five innings, then gave up a one-out single to Max Kepler in the sixth followed by Ehire Adrianza’s go-ahead double.
Joe Mauer’s single put runners at the corners, Jorge Polanco struck out on a wild pitch that advanced Mauer, and David Robertson relieved and retired Eddie Rosario on a groundout.
“My confidence is always up,” said Severino, tagged with the loss in consecutive starts. “I’ve had some struggles but that’s nothing I can’t fix. So I was going to go give 110 percent and compete for my team.”
Minnesota opened a 3-0 lead in the seventh when Willians Astudillo hit an RBI single and scored on Kepler’s double.
Twins catcher Mitch Garver was removed after two innings. He took a foul tip to the mask in the second, and the team said initial tests did not indicate a concussion.
Yankees: All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman could return next week from nearly a month on the disabled list. Chapman has not pitched since Aug. 21 because of left knee tendinitis, which has bothered him throughout the season. The 30-year-old left-hander threw a bullpen Wednesday and was to return to New York for treatment. Boone anticipates another bullpen session this weekend, then a return.
Twins: 3B Miguel Sano (left leg) said he hopes to play again before the end of the season. “I want to finish strong,” he said. Sano was hurt last week when he slid awkwardly into second base against Houston.
Yankees: RHP Masahiro Tanaka is to start Friday against Toronto. Tanaka has won consecutive starts in September after going winless in August.
Twins: LHP Stephen Gonsalves will make his fifth big league start Thursday at Kansas City.
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