Now that the Twins have finally earned a win over the Yankees, though, they feel confident heading into the teams’ first matchup at Target Field on Tuesday night.
New York (26-18) swept a division series against Minnesota (26-18) last year en route to its 27th World Series title, winning 4-1 in Game 3 - the final one at the Metrodome. The Yankees finished 4-0 all-time in playoff games in the dome.
“It was a dome that was very comfortable to play in - it was always a good brand of baseball and they were always good games,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi told MLB.com. “But I do prefer outdoor baseball. Maybe we’re catching them at the right time. It’s supposed to be 80 degrees in Minnesota this week.”
The Yankees won all 10 matchups with the Twins last season including that series, and took the first two games of a series less than two weeks ago. Minnesota finally ended its woes against New York in dramatic fashion with a 6-3 victory May 16 as Jason Kubel(notes) hit a go-ahead grand slam off closer Mariano Rivera(notes).
“As far as I’m concerned, we’re 1-0 against the Yankees in our last one game played,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We’ll construe the numbers any way we want now.”
The Yankees have lost 10 of 15 overall after losing two of three on the road against the Mets over the weekend.
The Twins, meanwhile, have not lost a series in their new home, going 14-7 after winning two of three from Milwaukee. AL batting leader Justin Morneau(notes) went 8 for 13 with five RBIs in the series to raise his average to .383.
Morneau is hitting .411 with five straight multihit efforts at Target Field.
While Morneau is red-hot, it’s been a different story this season for Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira(notes). The No. 3 hitter for New York has three hits in his last 25 at-bats and is batting .209 for the season.
Teixeira had one of his best series against Minnesota, going 6 for 12 with four RBIs earlier this month.
He’s also gone 6 for 10 in his career against Twins starter Scott Baker(notes) (4-4, 4.88), who gets the ball Tuesday. Baker is 2-2 with a 5.14 ERA in four starts against the Yankees, allowing five runs in six-plus innings in an 8-4 loss May 14.
The right-hander followed that up by giving up three runs over six innings Wednesday in a 3-2 loss at Boston.
The right-hander fell to 0-2 with an 8.15 ERA in his last three starts after surrendering six runs over 6 2-3 innings in a 10-6 loss to Tampa Bay on Wednesday.