The Minnesota Twins snapped a nine game losing streak against the New York Yankees Sunday afternoon. Jason Kubel brought the club back to life in the top of the eighth inning with a grand slam homerun off Yankee closer Mariano Rivera.
Nick Blackburn had a good outing, allowing three runs on nine hits in seven innings. It looked as though the three runs would be sufficient enough to beat the Twins. The Yankees felt comfortable at home with Rivera replacing Joba Chamberlain with two outs.
Then designated hitter Jason Kubel stepped to the plate and hit a bomb that startled the 46,628 Yankee faithful. The homer came on a 1-0 pitch that floated right into Kubel’s wheel house. It was the first grand slam given up by Rivera in eight years. The blown-save by the Yankee closer is the first in 51 straight opportunities, tying the major league record.
“It’s a pretty good feeling,” Kubel said. “It’s an even better feeling that we finally beat them.”
Twins coach Ron Gardenhire was astonished to see Rivera have an off night.
“You probably should have recorded that. Take pictures. It’s probably not something you will see often,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. “He’s the best in the game.”
The Yankees tried to mount a comeback in the ninth inning behind two lead-off singles off the bats of Randy Winn and Ramiro Pena. Then closer John Rauch shut down the meat of the Yankee lineup striking out Derek Jeter, Brett Gardner, and Mark Teixeira.
Sergio Mitre did enough to hold the Twins to only one run. However, the normally solid Yankee bull-pen fell apart at the end.
The Yankees are now 12-3 at home and face a couple of tough series ahead, facing rival Boston Red Sox and American League East leading Tampa Bay Rays. The Yanks will start Phil Hughes in the first game against the Red Sox.
The Twins remain atop the American League Central With the win Monday night. They begin the week at Toronto, and end with the start of inter-league play at home against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Online Sportsbooks have both the Yankees and Twins as the favorites in their respective series. The Twins are favored over the Blue Jays at -123 and the Yankees over the Red Sox at -200.