Does any team in baseball own another quite like the Yankees own the Minnesota Twins? The Yankees have a 116-39 record against the Twins since the start of the 2002 season, a stretch spanning three managers for the Twinkies (Gardenhire, Molitor, Baldelli), all of which own sub-.300 winning percentages against the Yankees.
Yankees, Mets Sweep Double Headers
There was a bunch of baseball played by New York teams on Wednesday. Four games combined for 39 innings, with the Yankees and Twins’ early game going 12 innings before an Oswaldo Cabrera single plated Isiah Kiner-Falefa to give the Yanks a 5-4 win.
In The Bronx, the Yankees played host to the Twins in a double-dip, with Minnesota hanging on to their Postseason dreams by the skin of their teeth. Kaner-Falefa – whom the Twins traded to the Yankees during the offseason – scored the winning run in game one and then delivered a significant blow to Minnesota’s October hopes in the second game of their twin-bill.
IKF’s fourth-inning grand slam made it 4-1 Yankees, which is all the support Gerritt Cole needed. Cole held the Twins to just one run on five hits while striking out 14 in six and two-thirds innings as the Yankees won 7-1.
The Yankees have taken the first three games in their series with the Twins with the fourth and final game tonight. Sonny Gray opposed Nestor Cortes, and the Twins trail the Guardians by two games in the AL Central.
The Mets also had a doubleheader (in Pittsburgh against the Pirates). After an 8-2 loss to the Pirates on Tuesday dropped the Mets into a first-place tie with the Braves in the NL East, the Mets took care of business on Wednesday with a pair of wins.
The Mets scored plenty in their twin-bill in New York, but they didn’t need to, allowing Pittsburgh just one run over both contests. Chris Bassitt fired seven innings of one-run ball while striking out 10 Pirates in the early game.
Jacob deGrom followed up on Bassitt’s performance with a gem of his own, tossing seven shutout innings while striking out eight and walking one. Bassitt and deGrom combined for a sparking line (14 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 18 K) on Wednesday, helping the Mets inch back atop the NL East by a half-game.
HR Chase Update: Judge Hits No. 55, Pujols Still at 695
Before we get too far past the Yankees doubleheader sweep, let’s get an update on the home run chases. In the early game between the Twins and Yankees, Aaron Judge got New York on the board with a blast off Louie Varland, No. 55 for Judge.
Judge is now two games ahead of Roger Maris’ 1961 pace and on pace for 65 home runs this season. Judge is also now just two home runs behind Barry Bonds’ total through 136 team games (57).
Albert Pujols did not play on Wednesday and hasn’t hit a home run since he went deep against the Cubs on Sunday for No. 695. Pujols is in St. Louis’ lineup (DH’ing and hitting sixth) against the Nationals this afternoon, his first start since Monday.
Strider Sparkles After Rocky First
The Braves didn’t fall out of their tie for first in the NL East by their own doing as they handled business in Oakland despite a shaky first inning that had me sweating my Spencer Strider-Braves parlay.
After striking out 16 Rockies in his last start, I figured that nine strikeouts and a Braves win by two was easy money against the lowly Athletics on Wednesday afternoon, and I was correct in the end, but not before I had to worry. Strider surrendered a pair of runs on three walks and a double in the home half of the first to spot Oakland an early advantage.
Thankfully, Strider bounced back by recording strikeouts for eight of the next 15 outs en route to a six-inning, two-run, nine-strikeout performance.
Atlanta’s offense came to life in the fifth inning, plating a pair on a Vaughn Grissom two-run homer, and then tacked on five more in the sixth and seventh innings en route to a 7-3 victory over the A’s, ensuring they stay within a half-game of the Mets.
Spencer Strider is now at 183 strikeouts on the season, good for fourth in the National League behind Carlos Rodón (201), Corbin Burnes (200), and Austin Nola (200).
Odds and Ends
- Luis Castillo opened yesterday’s Mariners-White Sox contest by striking out the first seven hitters he faced, a Mariners record, and Seattle still found a way to gift wrap one for the White Sox.
- Castillo, aided by some uncharacteristically sloppy Seattle defense, surrendered six runs to the White Sox (three earned) in six innings, including this 423-foot, two-run bomb by Eloy Jiménez. Eloy is slashing .354/.430/.563 with eight home runs and a 186 wRC+ since the All-Star break.
- The Dodgers’ magic number is down to six after a 7-3 win over the Giants yesterday. Los Angeles can clinch the NL West by the end of the weekend with a sweep of the Padres.
- St. Louis’ (as Luis calls it) “Cardinals devil magic” was on display last night as they erased a four-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth.
- Paul Goldschmidt hit his 35th home run of the season and is just two shy of the NL lead while leading the NL in hitting and RBI in his pursuit of the Triple Crown.
- Alek Manoah was brilliant in a big game for the Blue Jays on Wednesday, allowing 1 ER in 8.0 IP, tying his career high for innings pitched in a start. Manoah earned his 14th win and lowered his ERA to 2.42, ranking fourth in the AL.