Despite the ups and downs the Minnesota Twins have experienced during the first month of the season, one constant has been the team’s surprising domination of the New York Yankees.
Everyone seems to be stunned by this development, as the Twins have outscored the Yankees 22-12 over the first five games the teams have played against each other. For the first time in two decades the Twins are on the cusp of winning a season series over New York, and they’re in that position thanks to two former Yankees players.
Joey Gallo hit a ball harder and farther than he ever did during his stint with the Yankees, clobbering a solo home run to help power the Twins to a 6-1 victory on Monday. Gallo helped the offense, but it was a smothering performance on the mound from Sonny Gray that locked the win in place.
Gray went seven scoreless innings against his former team, striking out eight batters along the way.
The win gives the Twins a 3-2 edge in the season series, and secures a second series opening win over the Yankees. Gray didn’t face the Yankees when the Twins were in the Bronx earlier this month, and it was hard to not wonder if there was some extra incentive to dominate his former team.
Sonny Gray reacts to dominating Yankees in first start against former team
After the win, Gray spoke to the media and commented on what it meant to get the win against his former team. He didn’t give any bulletin board material, and he kept his cards pretty close to his chest, but he didn’t just gloss over it like this was simply another start for him.
“It always has a little bit of a bigger meaning, you always feel a little bit different going against those teams,” Gray said. “Having said that, we need to focus on us. We need to continue to focus and grind out this home stand.”
To be fair, the Yankees are hardly even a speed bump in Gray’s fast start to this season. His performance on Monday lowered his ERA to 0.62, as he’s allowed just three runs in 29 innings pitched his season.
Before the season Pablo Lopez was tabbed as a potential dark horse Cy Young candidate, but right now Gray seems to be carrying that energy with him. It’s only April and the race for everything — awards, postseason, all of it — is still very young. Minnesota got a dose of how quickly something good can turn stale after starting the season 4-0 only to later fall into a 1-6 slump.
Gray helped the Twins continue to climb out of that hole on Monday, as the team has stung together back-to-back wins for the first time since they clobbered the Yankees earlier in April.
Things got so bad for the Yankees that their announcers resorted to trying to make fun of the Twins new ‘M’ logo. That’s where we’re at right now with this rivalry, and it’s hard to not live in the moment and feel really good about how things are going in Twins Territory