New York hopes Sabathia's dominance over Minnesota continues Sunday in the series finale at Yankee Stadium.
Sabathia (9-7, 3.99 ERA) is 19-8 with a 2.95 ERA in 35 career regular and postseason starts against the Twins, tied for his most victories against any team. But he's been even more effective over the last 12, going 11-0 with a 2.01 ERA, including two playoff victories.
The left-hander most recently beat the Twins in a 3-2 road win July 3, striking out nine over seven innings while allowing two runs.
That was one of six straight victories by New York (51-43) over Minnesota, dating back to last season, until a 4-1 win by the Twins (38-53) on Saturday.
"That was needed," manager Ron Gardenhire, who was ejected in the eight inning after arguing a call at first base, said of the Twins' second victory in 14 games. "It's been a tough go here to get a win, so to see the guys smile again is very exciting."
The Twins had hit two home runs in their previous five games, but all four of the club's runs Saturday came on three homers off Phil Hughes. They'll hope for a similar effort against Sabathia, whose 20 homers allowed are among the most in baseball, though he's given up just six in his last 14 outings versus Minnesota.
Sabathia yielded two in a 3-1 loss to Kansas City on Tuesday, his second complete game of the year. He surrendered just one hit during the first five innings.
"It's frustrating. A loss is a loss no matter how many innings you throw, how many runs you give up," Sabathia told the team's official website. "If you lose the game, you lose the game and that's all that really matters."
Minnesota will counter with rookie Kyle Gibson (1-2, 7.27), who has struggled after a strong debut. He gave up two runs over six innings in a 6-2 victory over Kansas City on June 29, but has surrendered 12 runs in 11 1-3 innings over his past two starts.
All four runs he allowed in a 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Tuesday came in the fourth inning, when he issued three of his four walks. The right-hander rebounded to retire six of the seven batters he faced in his final two frames.
"That was important after giving up the runs like that," Gardenhire said. "He was a little frustrated, the three walks in the inning."
Multiple Twins are still mired in significant offensive slumps despite Saturday's win, including Chris Parmelee and Justin Morneau. Parmelee was 0 for 3 to fall to 1 for 22 over his last seven games, while Morneau was 0 for 4 and is 5 for 43 in his last 12 contests.
Rookie outfielder Oswaldo Arcia got the day off after going hitless in 18 at-bats with 12 strikeouts in his previous four contests.
"He's got the starry eyes right now," Gardenhire said. "He's overwhelmed right now."
Even after Saturday's loss, New York has won 32 of the last 40 meetings, including the postseason.