In Anthony Volpe’s lifetime, the Yankees have lost two season series to the Twins.
Once with Volpe at shortstop in 2023. The other when Volpe was 12 days old in 2001.
Minnesota’s 6-2 win over the Yankees on Tuesday night at Target Field clinched this year’s season series in favor of the home team. It ended a 22-year streak of pure and utter dominance from the Yankees, a stat that’s hard to believe no matter what team you root for and a fact that had Twins star Byron Buxton in absolute disbelief.
“I don’t even know how to put that into words,” Buxton told reporters on Tuesday night. “Twenty-two years? I was six! That’s the last time we won?”
Buxton’s towering two-run home run off Yankees starter Nestor Cortes in the sixth inning gave the Twins a lead they wouldn’t relinquish on Tuesday, sealing their fourth win in six games against the Yankees this season. They split a four-game set in the Bronx earlier in the month, the only team that’s handed the Yankees back-to-back losses so far in 2023.
Since 2002, the Yankees have a 100-42 (.704) record against the Twins, the best record by any team against a single opponent in Major League Baseball during that span. Include the postseason and that number gets even better: 116-44 (.725).
The list of wild stats goes on and on. The Twins had lost 16 of their last 19 games against the Yankees entering this season. They hadn’t won an individual series since taking two-of-three games in September of 2018 in Minnesota. Six of the Twins’ last eight trips to the postseason since 2003 ended with a loss to the Yankees.
“This one felt extra good after hearing that then,” Buxton added, still visibly in shock after hearing about the streak for the first time. “It’s kind of like having that monkey on the back. I know we talked about it a lot over the past few years, about going to Yankee Stadium, playing the Yankees. It feels a lot like that monkey is off the back for sure now.”
Yankees manager Aaron Boone was asked about the Yankees’ track record against Minnesota earlier this month, a question he’s heard practically every time his club has faced the Twins over the last few years.
“The way I look at it is, and I felt this way playing against them in spring training, I think they’re a really good team,” Boone said. “I think that team we’re playing the next four days has a chance to be really good this year. They’ve got a formidable rotation, they’ve got a back end, they’ve got star players. I don’t need to look at that at all, really. I know we’re playing a really good opponent right now that I know we got to play well again. I understand the history of it, but every team’s a little bit different.”
This iteration of the Twins (13-10 entering play on Wednesday) is still a ways away from contending for anything in October. It’s still a franchise that’s riding a record-breaking 18-game losing streak in the playoffs. Of those 18 losses, 13 have been against the Yankees.
Still, you have to figure this gives Minnesota a boost of confidence. The Yankees aren’t playing like an offensive juggernaut right now. Far from it. Their pitching staff — other than Gerrit Cole — has struggled against Minnesota this year. These games mean more to the Twins with the history attached to this matchup, though.
“There might be some people, whether it be fans or maybe people within the organization, that are especially pleased with the way this series has gone so far,” manager Rocco Baldelli told reporters on Tuesday. “But we have so many games to play