Update 4:45 p.m.: For those of you not watching the Phillies and the Rockies battle it out in the afternoon affair, WCBS 880 AM is doing a special extra-long pre-game show tonight starting at 5 p.m. The first 30 minutes will be streamed live online, and Yankee fans can listen via this link. We’ll be back with our game thread at 5:30 p.m.
When the Yankees and the Twins face off in around two-and-a-half hours, it will be the eighth meeting this year between these two clubs. It is no stretch to say that, so far, the Yankees have utterly dominated the Twins in 2009.
On the season, the Yankees are 7-0 against Minnesota. They’ve outscored the Twins 41-25, and the splits are equally as dominant. The Yanks’ bats hit .300/.380/.490 with 10 home runs against Minnesota while the Yanks’ pitchers held the Twins to a .232/.337/382 line. Yanks’ hurlers put up a 3.27 ERA during those seven games.
Yet, the Yanks/Twins contests were closer than these numbers would indicate. Four of the games were one-run affairs, and two others were decided by two runs. The Yanks celebrated Walk-Off Weekend with Minnesota in town, and those games could serve as a harbinger of things to come this week.
As we preview the ALDS, let’s hop in the Wayback Machine and relive the Yankees season series against the Twins.
May 15, 2009: Yankees 5, Twins 4 (Box Score) (RAB Recap)
WP: Jose Veras
LP: Joe Nathan
HR: Justin Morneau (2), Joe Mauer, Derek Jeter, Brett Gardner
In a game started by Phil Hughes and Francisco Liriano, the bullpens had the final say in this one. The Yanks entered the 9th down 4-2 and with Joe Nathan on the mound. After a game during which the Yanks and Twins got into a shouting match over Carlos Gomez, this one, as Mike predicted at the time, had walk-off written all over it. Brett Gardner, who had hit an inside-the-park home run earlier in the game, tripled to lead off the inning. Mark Teixeira singled him in, and A-Rod walked. After two outs and an intentional walk to Robinson Cano, Melky came to the plate. He singled to left-center, and the Yanks walked off victorious.
May 16, 2009: Yankees 6, Twins 4 (Box Score) (RAB Recap)
WP: Alfredo Aceves
LP: Craig Breslow
HR: Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez
Another day, another walk-off, this one courtesy of Alex Rodriguez. Joba Chamberlain and Nick Blackburn faced off, but with the Yanks up 3-2 in the 8th, Phil Coke allowed two runs to score, one on a Justin Morneau home run. The Yanks responded to tie in the 8th, but the game would belong to A-Rod. He belted one to deep left field, and the Yanks would walk off again.
May 17, 2009: Yankees 3, Twins 2 (Box Score) (RAB Recap)
WP: Alfredo Aceves
LP: Jesse Crain
HR: Alex Rodriguez, Johnny Damon
This time, the walk-off belonged to Johnny Damon. I was at this game, and it was a good one. A.J. Burnett and Kevin Slowey matched zeros until the 7th when both teams plated two runs. In the 9th, the Yanks nearly won but Joe Mauer made a tremendous play on a slow roller to tag Brett Gardner out at the plate. But the Yanks would reign when Damon pulled a 3-2 pitch into right field for the win.
May 18, 2009: Yankees 7, Twins 6 (Box Score) (RAB Recap)
WP: Andy Pettitte
LP: Glen Perkins
SV: Phil Coke
HR: Denard Span, Michael Cuddyer, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira (2)
Another one run game, but not a walk-off. Andy Pettitte gave up two first-inning runs, but the Yanks responded with six of their own. A-Rod and Teixeira went back-to-back in the first, but the Twins refused to go quietly into the night. Andy Pettitte struggled, and Edwar Ramirez and Phil Coke nearly gave the game away. Still, the Yanks held on for a four-game sweep of Minnesota in the Bronx.
July 7, 2009: Yankees 10, Twins 2 (Box Score) (RAB Recap)
WP: CC Sabathia
LP: Scott Baker
HR: Michael Cuddyer
Boring. After a weekend of close games against the Twins in May in the Bronx, the Yanks stormed into Minneapolis and crushed the Twins. Teixeira went 4 for 6 as Cano, Gardner and Francisco Cervelli went a combined 7 for 14 with five runs scored and six RBI. CC went seven strong, and Brett Tomko nailed down the final two frames.
July 8, 2009: Yankees 4, Twins 3 (Box Score) (RAB Recap)
WP: A.J. Burnett
LP: Anthony Swarzak
SV: Mariano Rivera
HR: Joe Mauer
In this game, the Yankees beat Joe Mauer 4-3. The Twins’ catcher and would-be AL MVP went 3 for 5 with two RBIs and a run scored. The rest of the Twins went 6 for 30. The Yankees, meanwhile, didn’t strike out at all during this game and plated four unremarkable runs. Mariano had to get a four-out save, but the Yanks won again in Minnesota.
July 9, 2009: Yankees 6, Twins 4 (Box Score) (RAB Recap)
WP: Jonathan Albajadejo
LP: Francisco Liriano
SV: Mariano Rivera
HR: Jason Kubel, Mark Teixeira
In their final regular season affair in the Metrodome, the Yankees played a sloppy game. They made two errors, walked in two runs and used six pitcher. Still, they beat the Twins for the seventh time this year behind yet another Mark Teixeira home run and some key RBIs from Cody Ransom and Brett Gardner. Al Aceves, making an emergency start, lasted just 3.1 innings, but the bullpen picked up the slack throwing 5.2 two-hit innings. Both teams would give up just three earned runs a piece, but the Yanks managed three more unearned runs to win.