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MINNESOTA vs. NEW YORK

Twins Are Seeking Some Respect

October 02, 2003|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — Jacque Jones watched television and kept hearing the same thing: Yankees lose! Yankees lose!

Almost no one was talking about Minnesota's victory in an AL playoff opener.

"We still don't get credit, which is fine," the Minnesota outfielder said Wednesday. "If it had been a role reversal, it would have been, 'The Yankees beat the Twins 3-1.' "

Maybe if the Twins win again tonight and take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series, they'll start to gain some attention. They already have the Yankees thinking about last year's first-round loss to the Angels.

"They're a lot like Anaheim -- better I think," Yankee General Manager Brian Cashman said. "That's not based on yesterday's game. That's based on what we knew about them."

Even Yankee Manager Joe Torre agreed that the Twins weren't given enough credit.

"We got beat by a very good ballclub yesterday," he said. "That's the No. 1 question that's not asked, how good they were yesterday."

Minnesota hopes for more of the same in Game 2, when Brad Radke (14-10) pitches against Andy Pettitte (21-8). New York expects a more raucous crowd with the game being played at night.

Although New York insisted there was no panic, the team was faced with reviews that might cause a Broadway show to close after opening night.

Jason Giambi, who was hitless in four at-bats with a pair of strikeouts, was the subject of harsh criticism, and the Yankees had former World Series star Reggie Jackson at Wednesday's workout, where he was available for advice and support.

Torre held a meeting before Wednesday's workout and told players to relax. The manager said it wasn't unusual, that he holds a lot of meetings during the postseason.

"Let's all stick together. We're going to win together or lose together," was Torre's message, according to Giambi. "It's not about individual performances."

The Yankees bounced back from a 2-0 deficit in the first round against Oakland three years ago, so they know how difficult the task is. And in Radke, they face a pitcher who went 4-0 in September.

"We've got to show up," catcher Jorge Posada said. "We've got to find a way of winning the game. It doesn't matter if it's ugly or not, we've just got to do it."

Pettitte, eligible for free agency after this season, could be making his last start for the Yankees. The 31-year-old left-hander has gone 149-78 for New York over the last nine seasons.

"I guess definitely it will be in my head. I would be lying again saying that I wouldn't let it creep in there," he said. "But I've been able to set all that aside. I've been able to do it this whole season, and I want to continue to do it throughout this playoffs."

The Twins appear to be at ease. Doug Mientkiewicz said their second-half turnaround put the team in the right frame of mind.

"We don't have big-name guys, payrolls, superstars," he said. "We stopped worrying about what we don't have and started making do with what we have."

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