The Minnesota Twins created a little momentum as they embark on a season-defining, 11-game road trip that starts Monday with the first of three contests against the New York Yankees in what could be a preview of the American League wild-card matchup. Minnesota collected 16 hits, including a grand slam by Joe Mauer, en route to a 13-7 victory over Toronto on Sunday to salvage a split of the four-game series.
Eddie Rosario (two) and Byron Buxton also homered among three hits and two RBIs apiece for the Twins, who lead the Los Angeles Angels by two games for the AL’s second wild-card spot. The Yankees hold a four-game lead for the first wild card but have loftier goals in mind as they trail first-place Boston by three games in the AL East and play 10 of their final 13 contests at home. New York lost two of three at Minnesota in mid-July, with Didi Gregorius hitting the only homer in the series for the club, and the shortstop has gone deep in each of his last three games to push his career-best totals to 24 blasts and 81 RBIs. The Yankees shuffled their rotation in order to give Jaime Garcia the start on Monday against the team from which they acquired him in late July, while the Twins counter with ace Ervin Santana.
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, MLB Network, FSN North (Minnesota), YES (New York)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Twins RH Ervin Santana (15-7, 3.35 ERA) vs. Yankees LH Jaime Garcia (5-9, 4.35)
Santana is unbeaten in his last 10 starts, recording four victories in that span, and struck out seven over six scoreless innings in a no-decision versus San Diego last time out. The 34-year-old Dominican is 9-2 with a 2.74 ERA and three complete games in 14 starts on the road this year. Matt Holliday (5-for-12, two homers) and Greg Bird (2-for-3, two homers) have caused problems for Santana, who is 6-9 lifetime against the Yankees.
Garcia notched the victory in his lone start with Minnesota before being shipped to New York, where he has gone 0-2 with a 4.60 ERA in six outings. The 31-year-old Mexican gave up one earned run in each of his last two turns but only was able to work a total of 9 2/3 innings due to pitch counts. Jason Castro has homered against Garcia, who pitched six scoreless frames in his only career start versus the Twins.
1. The Twins have matched the club record by homering in 16 straight games, while Yankees RF Aaron Judge leads the AL with 43 blasts.
2. New York 3B Todd Frazier went hitless in Sunday’s 6-4 loss to Baltimore but has recorded four homers and 12 RBIs in his last 10 contests.
3. Mauer needs one double to reach 400 in his career and is two runs away from tying Rod Carew (950) for third place in franchise history.
PREDICTION: Twins 5, Yankees 2