The Minnesota Twins picked a good time to win their first series at Yankee Stadium in over a decade.
With a 10-4 victory Sunday in New York, the Twins took two out of three games from the Yankees to head into the All-Star break on a positive note. It was the first time since May of 2001 that the Twins won a series against the Yankees in the Bronx.
For perspective, Tom Kelly was still managing the Twins when they last won a series at Yankee Stadium.
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“It’s nice to just win ballgames,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. “Winning a series here is never easy. We haven’t done it a lot. Guys were excited. The ball fell our way today.”
The Twins’ 10 runs in Sunday’s win marked the first time Minnesota scored in double-figures since a 10-0 win over Seattle on June 2. Minnesota’s offense has sputtered as of late; the Twins have been shut out twice in July and were held to one run on Tuesday against Tampa Bay. But the bats came alive Sunday to the tune of 14 hits.
The two straight wins also helps end a skid in which Minnesota was just 1-12 after a loss in Friday’s series opener. Now the Twins enter the All-Star break on a high note.
“Things went our way, and that hasn’t happened here in a long time,” Gardenhire said. “Today we got a lot of breaks.”
The Twins’ victories Saturday and Sunday were the first back-to-back wins for Minnesota since June 19-20. It was also the first time the Twins have beaten Yankees starter CC Sabathia since July 29, 2007 when Sabathia was with the Cleveland Indians.
It took some odd bounces and a few lucky breaks Sunday to jump on Sabathia. Holding a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning, the Twins had two outs with Trevor Plouffe at the plate. Plouffe reached on a throwing error by Yankees shortstop Eduardo Nunez on a play that should have ended the inning.
Instead, the Twins took advantage. On the very next pitch, center fielder Aaron Hicks jumped on a Sabathia changeup for a 3-run home run to left field, putting Minnesota up 5-0. It was Hicks’ eighth home run of the season and gave the Twins a big cushion early.
“It feels good. In that at-bat, I was just trying to get a good pitch to hit,” Hicks said. “I got a pretty good one and hit it out of the park.”
Later in the game, first baseman Justin Morneau blooped an infield single over Sabathia’s head, and infielder Jamey Carroll came around to score on the play. Morneau later had a bloop base hit to the outfield that neither second baseman Robinson Cano nor right fielder Vernon Wells could field.
They weren’t pretty hits, but Morneau and the Twins were happy to take them. Morneau finished 3-for-5 in the win.
“Three bullets, too,” joked Morneau, who also reached on an infield single to shortstop. “It looked like we used three weeks’ worth of bad luck and turned it into good luck today. We got about every bounce and break you can get. It’s been a little tough, but it’s good to go into the All-Star break finishing with two wins against a team we’ve had trouble against this year.”