MINNEAPOLIS — This stat should be taken with the caveat that it’s still far too early in the season to make any big claims about a team.
Still, that shouldn’t take away the impact of the following words, given the recent (and not so recent) history between these teams: The Minnesota Twins won the season series against the New York Yankees for the first time since 2001.
Long the Yankees’ punching bag in the regular season and playoffs, these Twins have retreated in a way few of their predecessors have. It started with the first nine-run inning in the Bronx two weeks ago and continued on Tuesday, when the Twins took the lead, lost it – but then surged relentlessly with late homers from Byron. Buxton and Trevor Larnach to claim a 6-2, decisive series win.
“I don’t even know how to put this into words,” said a visibly shocked Buxton. ” Twenty-two years ? Twenty-two years ? I was 6 !
“This one felt really good after hearing that at that time. I don’t know. It’s kind of like having that monkey on your back; I know we’ve talked about it a lot over the last few years, to go to Yankee Stadium, to play against the Yankees. Looks a lot like that monkey is on his back for sure now.
They couldn’t have done it without the seven-inning starting double efforts of Sonny Gray on Monday and Joe Ryan, who on Tuesday became the first Twins starter since 1979 to win each of his first five starts of a regular season. . The Twins have won nine straight games started by Ryan, dating back to last August.
That kind of tee shot paved the way for feats like those of Buxton, who threw his fourth homer of the season into the left field bleachers on Nestor Cortes’ 98th and final pitch of the night. Buxton tossed his bat aside in one fluid motion, gestured emphatically towards his dugout and began the trot, embodying the energy of the fans in the building who haven’t seen swings or pitching performances like those here – against these opponents – for a long, long time.
“For me, I can’t remember the last time I played and won a series against them,” Buxton said. “It’s something we can learn from.”
Truth be told, it could be considered defeatist in a way for a fan base and region to make a big deal out of a regular season series win over an opponent, created by the Twins splitting from a series of four games at Yankee Stadium from April 13-16, and now, their wins in the first two games of that three-game series at Target Field.
And truth be told, there’s probably some precision to that. But it’s hard to blame them given the history of this game, even if the 2002, 2012 or 22 editions of these teams had little to no bearing on these 2023 games.
The Twins had lost 16 of their last 19 games to the Yankees entering this season. Since that series win last season, the Bronx Bombers have escorted the Twins out of the playoffs in 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2017 and 2019, including a huge chunk of Minnesota’s record 18-game losing streak. in the playoffs.
Year after year, whether in the regular season or the playoffs, there was a certain perception of the Yankees as the big market boogeyman who would assert that over the Twins. But maybe this year’s results are a small step towards rectifying that, however early in the regular season, establishing the Yankees as another opponent the Twins can post nine-run innings against and hold. late advances.
“I think we’re just confident in the quality of our team,” receiver Ryan Jeffers said. “We are not the teams of the past who are intimidated by the biggest teams. In all facets of the game, we play really, really clean.
The Twins have to start somewhere en route to their ultimate goal of winning playoff games — and they’ll almost certainly see more Yankees-like teams if they get that far.
In the clubhouse is always where the sights are set.
“Some people, whether fans or members of the organization, might be particularly pleased with how this series has gone so far,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “But we have so many games to play (beyond one) late April series against the Yankees.
“We expect bigger highlights this year from our group than this series.”