After three consecutive walk-off wins over the Twins, surging New York goes for its first four-game home sweep over Minnesota in 16 years in Monday’s finale.
The Yankees (20-17) appeared to be on the verge of losing the first three games of this series, only to rally and win each in dramatic fashion.
In Friday’s opener, Melky Cabrera’s(notes) two-run single off All-Star closer Joe Nathan(notes) finished a three-run rally in the ninth that gave New York a 5-4 victory. On Saturday, Alex Rodriguez’s(notes) 11th-inning homer won it, 6-4.
Johnny Damon(notes) provided the heroics Sunday afternoon with a solo shot in the 10th to lift the Yankees to a 3-2 victory. New York has won a season-best five straight and has three consecutive walk-off victories for the first time since August 27-29, 1972.
“It doesn’t seem like we’ve had an easy game yet this year, but we’ll take any victory we can,” said Damon, who has a team-high 10 homers. “We’re glad that we’re finding a way to win these close games. Earlier in the season we weren’t doing that. That’s going to be the difference when the season’s over.”
New York’s thrilling comeback victories have all come at the expense of the tough-luck Twins (18-20).
The Yankees have won seven straight home games over Minnesota and 22 of 25 meetings in the Bronx since the start of the 2002 season. New York, which has won eight consecutive series over the Twins at both old and new Yankee Stadium, is seeking its first four-game home sweep of them since June 17-20, 1993.
“The guys are busting their tails,” Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We are doing a lot of good things out there - except winning baseball games.”
The Twins haven’t been doing much winning away from Minnesota lately. They’ve lost six straight away from the Metrodome and are an AL-worst 4-11 on the road.
Minnesota’s offense has been the biggest reason for its road struggles. The Twins have scored 15 runs during the road losing skid compared to plating 49 in their last six at home. They’ve had plenty of opportunities at Yankee Stadium, but are a dismal 1 for 25 with runners in scoring position during this series, stranding 34 overall.
Perkins yielded five runs and five hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 14-10, 13-inning win over Detroit on Wednesday.
The left-hander has allowed at least four runs in each of his last four starts after giving up four total runs in 24 innings over his first three outings. He has not won since defeating the Los Angeles Angels on April 19.
Perkins went 1-2 with a 5.00 ERA in three starts against the Yankees last season.
After allowing five runs in each of his previous two starts, the veteran left-hander gave up two runs and five hits in six innings of Wednesday’s 8-2 win at Toronto in his first victory since April 21.
In his only start against the Twins last season, Pettitte surrendered five runs and 10 hits in seven innings of a 6-5 loss, but wasn’t a factor in the decision.