The New York Yankees’ last road trip didn’t go as planned. Their current homestand couldn’t have gotten off to a better start.
New York looks to finish a three-game sweep Sunday when it goes for its 13th straight victory over the Minnesota Twins.
Since dropping four of five to end a 3-4 trip, the Yankees (24-12) are back on track following consecutive wins over the AL Central-leading Twins. Including last season’s AL division series, New York has won 12 in a row overall and 12 consecutive home games against Minnesota.
Saturday’s 7-1 victory improved the Yankees’ home record against Minnesota to 29-5 since the beginning of 2002, including the postseason.
“Well, we need to win, whichever way it comes,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. “We still have tomorrow. We’ve lost a couple of games against the Yankees but I promise you, I promise you, it’s not the end of the world.”
If Alex Rodriguez(notes) and Mark Teixeira(notes) continue to feast on Twins pitching in the series finale, there’s a good chance New York will improve its major league-best 12-2 home record. The Yankees sluggers are each 4 for 7 with a homer in the series. Rodriguez hit a go-ahead grand slam in Friday’s 8-4 victory and is batting .370 with four homers and 11 RBIs during an eight-game hitting streak versus Minnesota.
Teixeira is hitting .417 with six homer runs and 15 RBIs in 12 games against the Twins since joining the Yankees prior to last season.
“Alex and I have been swinging the bats well lately,” Teixeira said Saturday after hitting a two-run homer. “Hopefully that keeps up.”
Blackburn will try to help Minnesota (22-14) avoid getting swept for the first time since dropping three to the visiting Los Angeles Angels from July 31-Aug. 2.
Blackburn made some mechanical adjustments after going 1-1 with a 6.85 ERA in four April starts, and he’s 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in his last two outings.
“I think we’re getting closer to where I can feel what I’m doing wrong and what adjustments I need to be making,” he said after giving up four hits over seven innings in Sunday’s 6-0 win over Baltimore.
Blackburn, who last won three straight starts from May 21-31, is 0-1 with a 5.89 ERA in four starts against New York. He did not earn a decision in the Twins’ 4-3, 11-inning Game 2 loss at Yankee Stadium in the AL division series.
The Yankees will counter with Sergio Mitre(notes) (0-1, 3.86). After making five relief appearances to begin the season, Mitre made a spot start in place of Andy Pettitte(notes) (left elbow inflammation) and allowed four runs and five hits over 4 1/3 innings in Monday’s 5-4 loss in Detroit.
Minnesota’s last win over New York was 4-2 at home on Aug. 13, 2008. The Twins’ last victory in the Bronx was 6-2 on July 4, 2007.