The Twins crushed three straight home runs, knocked Jhony Brito out of the game in the first inning and threw haymaker after haymaker against a club that never got off the mat in an 11-2 Yankees loss in front of 39,024 unhappy customers in The Bronx.
The fans were stunned and with good reason: The Yankees (8-5), who have won their first four series of the season, entered play 98-38 against Minnesota since 2002, which was the best record of any team against an intra-league opponent in the span.
The Yankees have won 14 of their past 16 series against the Twins dating to July 2014, when Mauer and Dozier had grown accustomed to serving as the Washington Generals against Yankees clubs that played like the Harlem Globetrotters.
The Yankees allowed at least 11 runs in a loss to the Twins for the first time since July 14, 1995, when Brad Radke beat Sterling Hitchcock.
Twenty-eight years later, the Twins crushed Brito in an apparent effort to exorcise a few decades worth of demons.
“This is unfortunately part of the game,” manager Aaron Boone said after the Yankees allowed nine first-inning runs, tying a franchise record for runs allowed in the opening inning that was last set June 18, 2000, against the White Sox. “You get punched in the mouth in this game.”
Brito — a 25-year-old rookie who had been so solid in his first two starts — faced nine hitters and recorded just two outs during a 28-minute top of the first. The Twins loaded the bases before a sacrifice fly and three doubles (from Jose Miranda, Donovan Solano and Christian Vazquez) plated five runs.
Brito’s 34th and final pitch was a down-the-middle fastball to No. 9 hitter Michael A. Taylor, who blasted his first of two home runs to put the Yankees in a 7-0 hole before many fans had reached their seats.
“Everything [felt] fine today — I felt really good warming up. Physically I felt great,” Brito said through interpreter Marlon Abreu. “Just one of those days.”
Colten Brewer entered and threw lighter fluid where water was needed. Brewer, who had allowed one hit and zero runs in his first five Yankees innings, followed up Taylor’s blast by surrendering two more home runs to Edouard Julien (the first of his career) and Carlos Correa.
Correa’s dinger, to right-center, was the last straw for Yankees fans, who rained boos down on the field as the hated former Astro rounded the bases.
The Yankees’ bullpen calmed down and allowed just two more runs the rest of the way, but everything that followed the top of the first — including a pair of home runs from Anthony Rizzo and a scoreless ninth inning from shortstop-turned-center-fielder-turned-pitcher Isiah Kiner-Falefa — was elementary.
Brito, who is in the rotation because Frankie Montas, Carlos Rodon and Luis Severino are on the shelf, impressed all spring and allowed just one run in 10 innings against the Giants and Orioles to begin his major league career.
Thursday, there was no drop-off in velocity or movement, but he had little command. Even one of the two outs the righty recorded — a sacrifice fly from Trevor Larnach — was sent 364 feet away, dying in Aaron Judge’s glove in deep center. Brito continually placed it on a tee, and the Twins took an ERA that had been 0.90 and pumped it up to 6.75.
“Couldn’t really get the sinker in. We were having trouble getting the changeup down,” catcher Kyle Higashioka said. “They were just jumping over every single mistake.”
Yankees bats did not have much of a chance and played like it, allowing Twins starter Joe Ryan to toss seven innings in which he struck out 10 and only allowed three to reach base.41
“Nights like this, they’re going to happen in baseball,” Brito said, even if those nights rarely happen for the Yankees against the Twins. “It’s how you come back.
“I can tell you tomorrow I’m going to sit down with the pitching coach and go over video and make the adjustments.”
Source: NY Post