NEW YORK – Turns out, all the Twins needed to turn things around was a visit to their own private nightmare.
Aaron Hicks belted a three-run homer, the Twins scored as many runs as in their previous four games combined, and Minnesota hammered the Yankees 10-4 on Sunday, capturing a series on the Yankees’ home field for the first time since 2001.
Making their first back-to-back victories since June 18-20 even more unlikely: Yankee lefthander CC Sabathia took the loss, something he had not done against the Twins since July 2007, 13 starts ago. The Twins closed their longest road trip with a 3-7 record, but they go into the All-Star break on an improbable two-game winning streak.
What were you doing back in August 2008? The Twins were taking two out of three from the Yankees, but that Metrodome series was the last time it happened until this weekend, when Minnesota outscored New York 14-7.
The Yankees almost seemed complicit in providing a silver lining to the Twins’ ugly midsummer slump, committing two errors, making at least twice that many sub-major-league defensive plays, and saddling Sabathia with five unearned runs among the eight he allowed. Justin Morneau, for example, went 3-for-5 at the plate, yet never hit a ball that was handled by an outfielder. He “doubled” on a popup that Robinson Cano couldn’t reach, “singled” on a broken-bat bloop that Sabathia dropped, and beat out a grounder to deep short.
Jamey Carroll and Pedro Florimon capped a four-hit second inning off Sabathia with back-to-back RBI singles, the first time in a week that the Twins had scored first. An inning later, after Morneau’s popup double and a throwing error by Yankees shortstop Eduardo Nunez extended the inning, Hicks belted a three-run home run to the Twins bullpen in left.
Glen Perkins and Joe Mauer are remaining in New York for Tuesday’s All-Star Game played at the Mets’ Citi Field. The rest of the team is dispersing for four days. The Twins resume the season Friday in Target Field against Cleveland.