April 26, 2023

Twins make history, win first season series against Yankees since 2001

It’s over, Twins fans.

The Twins, who hadn’t won a season series over the New York Yankees since 2001, finally snapped that streak against Gotham on Tuesday with a 6-2 win at Target Field.

Starting pitcher Joe Ryan gave the Twins seven strong innings and he was backed by seven extra-base hits, including five doubles, two of them from second baseman Jorge Polanco. Byron Buxton and Oregon state man Trevor Larnach also homered in the game.

Polanco, who only recently rejoined the lineup from the injured list, is playing like a man possessed. He’s already hitting better than .400 with nine hits in his first 22 at bats, including a home run.

Kenta Maeda gets the ball Wednesday in the finale.

Extra innings …

-Although ending a 22-year drought is pretty special, it gets even better if the Twins beat the Yanks on Wednesday. If they do, it would be the first Twins sweep of the Yankees since September 1991. From Sept. 6-8, the Twins that season beat the Yankees 3-1, 3-2 in 10 innings and 6-5. Not only did the Twins sweep the Yanks they also won the season series 10-2. Of course, the Twins were pretty good in 1991, winning the division, pennant and World Series.

-So how did the Twins do in 2001? They won the season series over the Yankees 4-2.

-More numbers from this game: Starter Ryan, who improved to 5-0, became the second Twins pitcher to win his fifth straight start after Jerry Koosman did it in 1979. Minnesota native Koosman, perhaps best known for his years with the New York Mets, won 20 games that season. His fifth win was a 3-2 decision over the Toronto Blue Jays on May 1, 1979. Koosman allowed two runs over six innings, while reliever Mike Marshall earned the three-inning save.

The Minneapolis Tribune referred to them as the “old couple” and said as much in  the game story, under a headline that reads, “Old couple again gives Twins win.”

The game story noted that Koosman was 34 and Marshall, 35.

“This was by far the worst this year for me as far as my control has been,” Koosman told the newspaper. “I just threw the ball up there. I didn’t know where it was going. To be 5-0 you’ve got to be lucky — and I am.”

-Something I’ve been meaning to mention is the Herculean effort the Twins’ Willi Castro delivered in the Twins’ 11-5 loss to the Boston Red Sox on April 20. Despite the loss, Castro doubled, homered, played at shortstop and third base and later was called on to pitch when the game got out of hand. Now that’s earning your paycheck, Willi.

-The Chicago White Sox slumped to 7-17 on Tuesday after ex-Twin Jose Berrios, now with the Blue Jays, shut out the South Siders on four hits over seven innings with nine strikeouts.

-One more shout out to a former Twins player: Kyle Gibson, who now pitches for the Baltimore Orioles, struck out 11 Detroit Tigers over six-plus innings to beat them 5-1 on April 22.


Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.