After getting swept by the two-time defending AL champions, things won't get any easier for the Minnesota Twins as they start a difficult four-game series Monday night.
Including postseason, Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees have won 33 of 40 at home against the Twins over the past decade, and Yankee Stadium fans will likely be relishing the chance to rudely greet Minnesota starter Carl Pavano.
Minnesota (2-7) was swept over the weekend by Texas at home, and now faces a major nemesis. The Yankees (5-4) have eliminated Ron Gardenhire's club from the playoffs four times in the decade since he took over as Twins manager, and he's well aware of his poor record in the Bronx.
"We just play the schedule," Gardenhire told MLB.com. "We'll go to New York for four tough games, and then off to Tampa for three more tough ballgames. So it's a tough road trip."
The 37-year-old Jeter had two hits including a three-run homer in Sunday's 11-5 rout of the Angels. He's 12 for 28 with six extra-base hits in the Yankees' current 5-1 surge.
"He looks really good,'' double-play partner Robinson Cano said. "I'm happy for that guy because people always criticize, his age and stuff like that, so I'm happy to see him have a good start.''
Jeter is 4 for 10 in the regular season against Pavano (0-1, 5.93 ERA), who is 0-2 with a 4.15 ERA in two division series losses to New York since joining Minnesota. Pavano hasn't faced New York in the regular season with Minnesota, but returned to the Bronx in 2009 while with Cleveland.
Yankees fans likely still harbor memories of his ill-fated stint with the club between 2005-08, when he was limited to 26 starts and made nearly $40 million while spending most of his time on the disabled list.
The veteran right-hander has been about as effective through two starts as he was in those days with New York, yielding five runs over 6 2-3 innings Wednesday and not getting a decision in the Twins' 6-5 win over the Angels.
Jeter led New York with a .355 average against Minnesota as the Yankees went 6-2 in last season's series. Mark Teixeira batted .346 with three homers and nine RBIs.
"You're going to have to face them sometime," Twins catcher Joe Mauer said. "It's a tough part of our schedule. We might as well see them early."
Mauer hit .346 against the Yankees last season while Justin Morneau batted .158. Mauer went 2 for 10 over the weekend with three walks while Morneau was 1 for 12 with five strikeouts.
Each grounded into a double play in Sunday's 4-3 loss, increasing Minnesota's season total of twin killings to a major league-leading 13.
"It's been frustrating," Mauer said. "Guys are hitting the ball hard and at people and things like that. But you've just got to keep plugging away."
Mauer is a .419 career hitter against Freddy Garcia (0-0, 5.79), who starts Monday for New York, while Morneau is at .207 against him.
Garcia will make his first home start after giving up four runs over 4 2-3 innings in Tuesday's 5-4, 12-inning victory at Baltimore.
The veteran right-hander went 5-0 with a 3.86 ERA in his final six 2011 home starts before he lost to Detroit in Game 2 of an AL division series.
Garcia is 10-7 with a 4.04 ERA in 22 career starts against the Twins.
- Derek Jeter
- New York