New York’s starters are 13-0, the longest winning streak to begin a major league season since 1900.
“We’re just all clicking right,” said Yankee pitcher Mike Mussina, who posted an 8-2 win over the Twins on Sunday. “You don’t question it, you don’t say anything too much about it. You go out and go after it and try to keep it going.”
Wells has a good chance to continue the streak, as he is 17-6 with a 2.32 ERA in his career against the Twins. The left-hander pitched a perfect game against Minnesota on May 17, 1998.
The Yankees enter the game riding a four-game winning streak overall, and they have beaten the Twins in 12 straight. New York manager Joe Torre notched his 700th career win with the team on Sunday.
New York got a boost on Sunday from first baseman Jason Giambi, whose three-run homer in the first inning was his first home run since the opening week of the season. Giambi, who entered the game hitting .180, has averaged nearly 39 home runs over the last four seasons.
“I worked on cleaning up my bat path through the strike zone, and I started to hit the ball better,” Giambi said. “The guys around me have been swinging the bat well, so it feels good for me to get going a little bit too.”
The Twins, meanwhile, will be happy to see the Yankees leave town regardless of Monday’s outcome. Minnesota had a six-game winning streak before losing the first three in this series, and it has a 9-3 record this season against teams other than New York.
“We know we can play with these guys, and we know we can beat these guys,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who was ejected in the third inning on Sunday for arguing balls and strikes with plate umpire Joe Brinkman. “We just haven’t done it on the field yet. But it’s April, there’s still a lot of baseball to play.”
STANDINGS: Yankees - 1st place, AL East. Twins - 3rd, 5 1/2 GB, AL Central.
YANKEES PROBABLE STARTER: Wells (2-0, 2.45 ERA). Wells was roughed up in his last start on Wednesday, though he did not earn a decision in the Yankees’ 7-6 loss to Toronto. The pudgy southpaw surrendered 11 hits in five innings, while striking out seven.
TWINS PROBABLE STARTER: Rick Reed (2-0, 3.94 ERA). Reed is coming off a strong performance against Detroit on Wednesday, when he allowed just two runs in six innings of a 4-2 win. The veteran right-hander allowed just six hits and one walk in the win, while striking out five. Reed has been hit hard by the Yankees in his career, going 0-4 with a 6.29 ERA in nine starts.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Yankees - Bernie Williams, .377 avg.; Alfonso Soriano, 6 HRs and 17 runs; Hideki Matsui, 19 RBIs; Soriano and Raul Mondesi, 4 SBs. Twins - Bobby Kielty, .366 avg. and 3 HRs; Torii Hunter, 11 RBIs; Jacque Jones, 12 runs and 4 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Yankees, 6-0.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Yankees - Torre, who was hired in 1996, is the fifth Yankee manager to win 700 games. Joe McCarthy (1,460), Casey Stengel (1,149), Miller Huggins (1,067) and Ralph Houk (944) also accomplished the feat. … OF Matsui did not start on Sunday but he did appear as a pinch runner. Matsui, who had started the first 17 games for the Yankees this year, has played in 1,268 straight games spanning his days with the Yomiuri Giants of Japan’s Central League. … After their game with the Twins on Monday, the Yankees play 24 straight against the AL West. Twins - All five of Minnesota’s series this season before this one have ended in sweeps. … The Twins have scored just 12 runs in 6 games against the Yankees this year. … The Twins activated RHP Mike Fetters from the DL and optioned RHP Juan Rincon to Triple-A Rochester on Sunday.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Yankees - 8-1 on the road; Twins - 3-6 at home.
INJURIES: Yankees - IF Derek Jeter (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Steve Karsay (back), 15-day DL; RHP Jon Lieber (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Mariano Rivera (groin), 15-day DL. Twins - LHP Eric Milton (shoulder), 60-day DL.