1960: With an expansion team ready to begin playing in Washington in 1961, the old Senators who have played in the Nation’s Capital for 60 years get the go-ahead to move to Minnesota. Metropolitan Stadium built originally for minor league baseball was renovated and expanded for Major League Baseball in the Twin Cities.
1961: With players like Harmon Killebrew, Bob Allison, Camilo Pascual, and Jim Lemon, Minnesota are excited about getting Major League Baseball, as the Twins are born. However, the team does not experience much success that first season and would finish in seventh place with a record of 70-90.
1962: With pitcher Jim Kaat coming into his own and Harmon Killebrew leading the League in HRs RBI, the Twins reverse their record to 91-71 and finish in second place only five games behind the New York Yankees.
1963: The Twins win 91 games again, but finish a distant 13 games out of first place while finishing in third place in the American League.
1964: Even with Harmon Killebrew leading the league with 49 Home Runs and Rookie of the Year Tony Oliva winning the batting crown, the Twins have trouble wining and finish a disappointing sixth with a 79-83 record.
1965: The Twins jumped out of the gate and did not look back even with Harmon Killebrew missing time with injuries the Twins were the story of the American League. Tony Oliva repeated as batting champion, becoming the first player to win it in each of his first two seasons. With Mudcat Grant winning 21 games and Zolio Versalles capturing the American League MVP, the Twins were well on their way to the American League Pennant. Ironically the Twins would clinch the pennant on September 26th in Washington, the city they once called home. The Twins would go on to win franchise-best 102-60 record. In the World Series, the Twins were matched up against the Los Angeles Dodgers, who had one of the best pitching rotations in baseball’s history. The Twins would get off to a flying start beating both Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax in the first two games at Metropolitan Stadium to take a 2-0 series lead to Los Angeles. However, the Dodgers would bounce back and take the next three games in Los Angeles as the Twins managed just two runs in those games. Down 3-2, the Twins found home cooking to their liking again as Mudcat Grant stared on the mound and at the plate, allowing just one run and smacking a key three un homer to force a seventh and deciding game. The home cooking would not last in Game 7, as the Twins were mowed down all day by Sandy Koufax, who earned his second series shut out by fanning ten Twins on short rest.
1966: The Twins experience a World Series hangover and get over to a languid start. The slow start would go on to haunt the Twins in September as they fell eight games short of the pennant despite 25 wins from Jim Kaat, and sporting the best record in the majors after July 4th, on their way to posting an 89-73 record, good enough for second place.
1967: Super rookie, Rod Carew set the pace Twins to find themselves in the thick of one of the tightest pennant races in American League history. The Twins were in the race until the final day of the season when they faced the Red Sox in a one-game decides it all last game of the season in Boston. The Twins would take an early 2-0, but the heroics of American League MVP Carl Yastrzemski would do them in as the Twins came up just one game short with a 91-71 record.
1968: A season-ending injury to Harmon Killebrew during the All-Star game dooms the Twins to a disappointing season where they finish in seventh place with a record of 79-83.
1969: Led by Harmon Killebrew, who wins the American League MVP, while leading the league with 49 Home Runs and 104 RBI, while Rod Carew was batting a league-high .332 the Twins quickly establish themselves as the class of the American League West in the first season of divisional play. The Twins only real challenge would come form the Oakland Athletics, taking five-of-six in early September allowed the Twins to cruise to an easy first Division title with a 97-65 record. In the first-ever ALCS, the Twins faced the Baltimore Orioles. However, the Twins would lose two heartbreaking games in extra innings in Baltimore to fall behind 2-0 in the series. In Game 3, not even the site of Metropolitan Stadium would help as the Orioles completed the sweep with an 11-2 romp.
1970: With Jim Perry winning 24 games while capturing the CY Young, the Twins dominate the American League Western Division again, gaining first place for good in the middle of May on the way to finishing with a 98-64 record. In the ALCS, the Twins earned a rematch against the Baltimore Orioles. The series would be over after Game 1 when Orioles pitcher Mike Cuellar victimized Jim Perry with a third Inning Grand Slam. The Orioles would go on to win the game 10-6 and go on to sweep the series scoring an incredible 27 runs in three games.
1971: With Twins pitching faltering from the start, the Twins fall off their first-place perch and crash into fifth place with a 74-86 record. The lone highlight of the season comes when Harmon Killebrew belts his 500th career Home Run.
1972: The Twins play mediocre baseball all season as they finish in third place with a .500 record of 77-77.
1973: The Twins finish with a .500 record for the second straight season as they land in third place at 81-81.
1974: After 21 years with the Senators-Twins franchise Harmon Killebrew is released. Killebrew would go on to play just one more season with Royals ending his career with 573 career Home Run. In Killer’s final season in Minnesota, the Twins finish in third place with an 82-80 record.
1975: In their first season without Harmon Killebrew, the Twins would struggle to finish in fourth place with a 76-83 record.
1976: After a season of injury and frustration, Tony Oliva retires at the young age of 36. In his career, Oliva only plays with Twins and wins three batting titles and finishes his career with a .304 career average. The Twins would go on to finish the season in third place with an 85-77 record.
1977: In what could be called the “Year of Rod Carew” without protest from anyone in baseball circles. The Twins stellar 1B tore American League pitching apart en-route to being named the AL’s MVP, leading the junior circuit in average (.388), hits (239), runs scored (128) and triples (16), in addition to collecting 100 RBI. Moreover, the three-time batting champ was nationally recognized as baseball’s best hitter, appearing on the cover of several national publications and featured on network news shows. Despite the heroics of Care, the Twins finished a distant fourth, with an 84-77 record.
1978: After a disappointing 73-89 season, the Twins stun baseball and their fans by trading Rod Care, who had just won his fifth batting title in six years to the California Angels. In return, the Twins received several young but unproven players, including Ken Landreaux.
1979: Led by newly acquired Jerry Koosman who led the team with 20 wins, the Twins youth energizes the team to stay in the race for the division title until September. With Roy Smalley leading the team at the plate with 24 Home Runs, the Twins are in a tight four-way race in a weak American League Western Division. Eventually, the Twins will fade to fourth place, but they would finish just six games behind the Western Division Champion Angels with an 82-80 record.
1980: The Twins struggle all season as they finish in third place with a record of 77-84.
1981: A strike and a poor 41-68 overall put a damper on the season from the start. Then on September 30th and end of an era in Twins baseball occurred as the Twins played their final game at Metropolitan Stadium. Almost 16,000 fans turned out for the finale and played in chilly, rainy conditions; ironically, the same type of afternoon was experienced for the 1961 opener at the stadium.
1982: Playing in the first air-supported dome stadium in baseball history, the Twins started the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome era on the wrong foot. The Twins quickly establish themselves as the worst team in baseball by getting off to an embarrassing 16-54 start. However, the Twins youthful core of Kent Hrbek, Gary Gaetti, Tom Brunansky, and Tim Launder would begin to play better baseball in the second half. Despite this, the Twins would still post a horrid 60-102 record, as their respectable 44-48 finish gave hope for the future.
1983: Coming off a 102-loss season, the youthful Twins continue to experience growing pains as they finish in fifth place with a 70-92 record.
1984: Owner Calvin Griffith had a 20-year contract with the Metrodome, which stated the club, had to draw an average of 1.4 million fans in any three year period, or he could break the lease and move the team. Griffith was threatening to exercise this option and move the Twins to Tampa, Florida. However, a group of local civic leaders banded together in an attempt to purchase enough tickets to gain support to keep the Twins in Minnesota. From mid-May to late-June, they administered a ticket buyout. On June 22nd, prominent local businessman Carl Pohlad stepped forward and signed an agreement in principle to purchase the team from Griffith and his sister, Mrs. Thelma Griffith Haynes, to keep the Twins in Minnesota. This ended the buyout plan, and on September 7th, the deal was finalized, ending an era of 72 years in which the Griffith family controlled the ballclub. While the team was involved in ownership controversies off the field, the Twins managed to put together a strong season on the field. Finishing with a .500, 81-81 record the Twins who are led by Frank Viola, who wins 18 games, as the Twins finished just three games out of first place in a weak AL Western Division. The season was highlighted by the debut of a 5’8″ OF Kirby Puckett, who most think is too small to make the majors. That Outfielder would not only make the majors but will become Twins baseball for the next decade while putting together a hall of fame career. In his debut, Puckett shows his greatness by collecting four hits in a game in California against the Angles on May 8th.
1985: The Twins suffer a setback falling into fourth place with a disappointing record of 77-85.
1986: Poor pitching dooms the Twins from the start as team falls into sixth place with a dreadful 71-91 record. Not all news was bad for the Twins Kirby Puckett has a break out year slamming 31 Home Runs, after entering the season with just four in his entire career. On September 12th the Twins would change mangers for the third time in two years, as the job was handed over to Tom Kelly on an interim basis.
1987: Intent to make sure the Twins were better, newly appointed General Manager Andy MacPhail acquired Jeff Reardon to fill the need for a closer, and Dan Gladden to provide spark form the leadoff spot. MacPhail also kept Tom Kelly on as a manager whose even temperament would keep the team on an even keel. Not much was expected from the team coming off a 91-loss season, but most expected they would improve enough to finish with a respectable record. On the road, the Twins were much like the year before with a pathetic 29-53 record. At home, the Twins were magic winning 56 while losing just 25. Usually, an 85-77 will leave a team far behind in any pennant race, but the AL West was mediocre that year, and it was good enough to give the Twins their first division title in 17 years. The final week of the season saw a battle between the Detroit Tigers and Toronto Blue Jays for the Eastern Division title. With the Twins who won the West seen as a pushover, the series was called the real ALCS. Eventually, the Tigers would sweep the Jays and go on to face the Twins. Most thoughts of it were a mere formality, but the Twins would have home-field advantage, and in their dome, there was magic cooking all season, as loud crowds and white towels called homer hankies made life hell for the visitors. Game 1 turned into a see-saw battle as the Twins used two doubles to score four times in the eighth inning to pull out the opener. Game 2 saw the Twins score six runs off St. Paul native Jack Morris to take a 2-0 series lead. In Game 3, the Twins, away from the Homer Hankies, experienced a bump in the road, wasting a comeback from a 5-0 deficit, to lose 7-6. However, the Twins would bounce back in Game 4 thanks to solo homers from Kirby Puckett, and Greg Gagne to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. The Twins could not be stopped even on the road as they trounced the Tigers 9-5 in the fifth game to earn a trip to their first World Series in 22 years. Entering the World Series, the Twins remained heavy underdogs facing the St. Louis Cardinals. Like the ALCS, the Twins would have the advantage of 4 games at home. In the 1st game, a loud Metrodome crowd sparked the Twins to an impressive 11-1 victory highlighted by Dan Gladden’s fourth Inning Grand Slam. The Twins offense didn’t miss a beat in Game 2, as 6-run 4th inning enabled the Twins to win 8-4. The series shifted to St. Louis for games 3, 4, and 5. Game 3 was a pitcher’s duel between Les Straker and John Tudor, but St. Louis got three runs in the seventh inning off Juan Berenguer and went on to win, 3-1. The Cardinals offense broke loose in the 4th game in defeating the Twins, 7-2. It was followed by Game 5, which was another tight struggle, that the Cards won 4-2. The Twins found themselves in the same position, as they were 22 years earlier losing three road games and returning home on the brink down 3-2. However, there was still magic in the dome, and after falling behind 5-2 in Game 6, the Twins rallied to take the lead 6-5 in the fifth after Don Baylor sparked a four-run fifth. The Twins would pull away in the next inning thanks to a Grand Slam from Kent Hrbek to force a decisive seventh game. In Game 7, the Twins had ace Frank Viola on the mound against the Cardinals rookie Joe Magrane. The Twins would fall behind early 2-0, but Viola cruised the rest of the way, as the Twins would score four times to take a 4-2 lead to the ninth. In the ninth inning, the ball rested in the hands of the Terminator Jeff Reardon, who was almost automatic all year, true to form he retired all three batters he faced, and the Twins captured their first World Championship.
1988: Frank Viola was playing his Sweet Music on the mound all year while winning 24 games to earn the Cy Young, to help the Twins to an even better record than their Championship year. However, they would not even come close to winning the division title, as their 91-71 records were only good for second Place 13 games behind the first-place Oakland Athletics. Also highlighting the year was Alan Anderson, who led the league in ERA in his first full season in the majors. On the field, the Twins set a new record committing just 84 errors while posting a .986 fielding percentage. The fans of Minnesota were also record-setters, as the Twins became the first American League team to draw three million fans when 3,030,672 passed through the turnstiles.
1989: With the Twins fading in the race for the division, they would make a stunning trade as the clock struck midnight on the trading deadline by dealing Frank Viola to the New York Mets. In return, the Twins rolled the dice by acquiring five young pitchers. With a lack of pitching depth, the Twins had few alternatives other than dealing Viola for what could turn out to be the nucleus of their pitching staff for years to come. In the deal, the Twins acquired a proven, 28-year-old veteran, Rick Aguilera, heralded rookie southpaw David West, the Mets’ top prospect, rookie right-handers Kevin Tapani, a starter, and relievers Tim Drummond and Jack Savage. Despite Kirby Puckett winning the batting title with a .339 average, the Twins would fall below .500 and finish in fifth place with an 80-82 record.
1990: The Twins would fall into the American League Western Division basement with a 74-88 record. Despite their record, the Twins had their share of bright spots. Rick Aguilera was converted from starter to stopper in the bullpen and responded by recording 32 saves. Right-hander Scott Erickson made the jump from AA to the Twins in June and finished the season strong, going 8-4 with a 3.27 ERA. The disappointing season’s highlight came on July 17th, in Boston, when they turned two triple plays. In the fourth inning, with the bases loaded and Scott Erickson pitching, former Twin Tom Brunansky hit a sharp grounder to Gary Gaetti at third, who stepped on the bag for the force out, fired to Al Newman at second, whose relay to Kent Hrbek was in time to get Bruno at first. In the eighth inning, with John Candelaria on the hill and runners on first and second, Jody Reed hit a one-hopper at Gaetti who again started a 5-4-3 triple play.
1991: Not much was expected for the Twins coming off their last-place finish, and when they got off to a 2-9 start, no one batted an eye. The ship was soon righted, and behind the spectacular pitching of Scott Erickson, who won a club-record 12 consecutive games, the Twins soon closed the gap on the first-place Texas Rangers and began to make their move as June rolled around. The Twins started the month by winning their first 15 games, setting a team record. They finished the month with an incredible 22-6 mark, which catapulted them over the rest of the American League Western Division into first place, where they would remain for all but two days the rest of the season. Before clinching the West with a 95-67 record, Twins became the first team ever to go from last place one season to the next. Behind the turnaround were some solid, if not spectacular, seasons from many different players. Erickson became the 10th Twin to win 20 games, as he used his phenomenal first half to push him toward a 20-8 mark. Jack Morris notched an 18-12 record and gave Tom Kelly a proven starter to whom he could give the ball in pressure situations. While, young players such as Kevin Tapani, Shane Mack, and AL Rookie of the Year Chuck Knoblauch each established themselves with terrific seasons. The Twins opened the ALCS in the friendly confines of the Metrodome with hometown hero Jack Morris on the mound. The Twins jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first three innings and weathered a furious Blue Jays comeback to win, 5-4. The next day, Toronto starter Juan Guzman limited the Twins to just five hits for a 5-2 win. In the process, the Blue Jays became the first team to defeat the Twins in the Metrodome in postseason play, as the first postseason series played entirely indoors moved to Toronto for the next three games. Mike Pagliarulo put the Twins ahead by a game with a solo home run in the tenth inning for a 3-2 win in Game 3. After the Twins romped in Game 4, the Twins clinched their third American League pennant with a come-from-behind, 8-5 win in Game 5 as ALCS MVP Kirby Puckett’s eighth Inning single put the Twins up for good.
1991: In the World Series, the Twins would be matched against the Atlanta Braves, who themselves made history by becoming the first National League team to go from last to first in one season. The Twins would have one significant advantage in that if the series went seven games, four would be at the Twins home sweet dome. The Twins jumped out to a 1-0 series lead with a 5-2 win pounding Atlanta starter Charlie Leibrandt for four runs in four innings. In Game 2, Scott Leius was the hero as his 8th inning solo home run that made a winner of Kevin Tapani, who outdueled Atlanta ace Tom Glavine with just two runs in his eight innings of work. Arriving in Atlanta up 2-0, the Twins were in familiar territory after taking the first two series game. Game 3 was an extra-inning affair and set the tone for the remainder of the gut-wrenching games to follow. The game entered the 12th inning still knotted at four, as the Twins threatened in the top half of the inning, loading the bases with two outs. However, Tom Kelly was forced to pinch-hit pitcher Rick Aguilera for Mark Guthrie, as there were no-hitters left on the bench. Aguilera ends up flying out to end the threat. The Braves would win the game in the bottom of the 12th when Mark Lemke singled home Dave Justice. Atlanta evened the series 2-2 with another win in their last at-bat, this time on a Jerry Willard sacrifice fly to score Lemke in the ninth inning of Game 4. That game featured three close plays at home plate, with Twins’ catcher Brian Harper blocking away Lonnie Smith and Terry Pendleton, but just missing Lemke with the tag to end the game. The Braves would gain a 3-2 series advantage with a 14-5 drubbing of the Twins in Game 5. The Twins hoped they could keep their home fires burning to force a seventh game with the series returning to Minnesota. Kirby Puckett was not about to let the title go quietly going three-for-four, with a leaping catch at the center-field wall to rob Ron Gant of extra-bases. That effort, along with Scott Erickson’s gutsy six innings of work, kept the teams tied as the game went into extra-inning. Kirby Puckett would end the game in the 11th inning with a dramatic leadoff homer that set up a dramatic seventh game. In Game 7, Jack Morris and Braves starter John Smoltz each held their opponents scoreless as the game entered the eighth inning. The Braves loaded the bases in the top of the 8th, but Minnesota turned a 3-2-3 double play to get Morris out of the inning. The Braves returned the favor in the bottom of the inning, getting out of a bases-loaded jam with a twin killing. As the scoreless game entered the tenth inning, Morris continued to hurl a gem of a shutout, and set the stage for the offense to clinch the series, as Gene Larkin’s pinch-hit single scored Dan Gladden with the winning run in a 1-0 game to close out one of the greatest World Series ever. Five of the seven games were decided by one run, five were determined in the last at-bat, and three games went into extra innings. The Twins became World Champions for the second time in five seasons, as Morris was awarded the MVP trophy for his brilliant pitching effort.
1992: With Kirby Puckett reaching 200 hits for the fifth time in his career while scoring 100 runs and driving in 100 RBI while hitting over .300 for the seventh time in nine seasons, the Twins went 90-72 their third 90-win campaign in the five years. However, the Twins couldn’t catch the Oakland Athletics and finished in second place.
1993: Individual accomplishments from a career Twin and a returning hometown hero highlight an otherwise disappointing fifth Place 71-91 season. Kirby Puckett earns the All-Star Game MVP with a homer and an RBI double. Then on September 16th, St. Paul native Dave Winfield who signed with the Twins in the off-season, collected his 3,000th career hit in the ninth inning off Oakland Athletics ace reliever Dennis Eckersley.
1994: In their first season in the newly formed American League Central Division, the Twins are never a factor in the race for first place with a record of 53-60, when the strike prematurely ended the season on August 12th. Kirby Puckett collects his 2,000th career hit while leading the American League in RBI. The highlight of the season comes on April 27th when Scott Erickson pitches the third No-Hitter in Twins’ history. The year also sees the end of two eras, as 1B Kent Hrbek retires after 13 seasons, and GM Andy MacPhail leaves the Twins to run the Chicago Cubs.
1995: Three individual career milestones from Kirby Puckett highlight an otherwise awful 56-88 last-place season as he eclipses the 200 HR 1,000 RBI, 1,000 Runs marks.
1996: With spring training nearing an end, the most popular player in Twins history, Kirby Puckett, awoke on March 28th with blurred vision. Puckett would never play again and would be forced to retire after it was determined the eye problem was caused by glaucoma, an incurable disease that robs people of their sight. Before the season, the Twins brought in St. Paul native Paul Molitor to collect his 3,000th in front of his hometown fans, much like Dave Winfield did three years earlier. He would collect his milestone hit in Kansas City with a triple off Royals pitcher Jose Rosado on September 16th, as the Twins finished in fourth place with a 78-84 record.
1997: Following a miserable fourth Place 68-94 season, the Twins trade popular 2B Chuck Knoblauch to the New York Yankees for Rookie pitcher Eric Milton.
1998: With Paul Molitor’s 21-year playing career coming to an end, the Twins suffer through another mediocre season finishing in fourth place with a terrible 70-92 record.
1999: Eric Milton’s no-hitter versus the Anaheim Angels at the Metrodome on September 11th is the lone bright spot in an awful 63-97 season that sees the Twins land in last place.
2000: Despite finishing 69-93, for the fourth straight 90-loss season, the Twins new foundation continued to solidify. Matt Lawton hit .305 making his first All-Star team; Corey Koskie impressed with a .300 batting average; Jacque Jones showed glimpses of all-around stardom, hitting .285 with 19 home runs while playing a sterling outfield; and shortstop Christian Guzman continued to dazzle with the glove, and led the Majors with 20 triples.
2001: Following four straight 90-loss seasons and entering the season with baseball’s lowest payroll, not much was expected from the Twins. However, through most of the first half the Twins, are the biggest surprise in baseball, by spending most of the first three months at or near first place. Following the All-Star break, the Twins came down to earth, and faded from the race for the Central Division Title, as their pitching faltered. However, the Twins would rebound and would manage to finish in second place with a solid 85-77 record, which ended an eight-year run of losing seasons. However, despite the strong season manager Tom Kelly decided to walk away following the season. Following the Twins impressive season, fans in Minnesota had reason to hope again. However, following the World Series talk began to swirl that two teams would be contracted. Immediately the Twins became rumored to be one of those teams. Lawmakers in Minnesota led by Governor Jesse Ventura, fearful of seeing the Twins eliminated, went to court to try and force the Twins to honor the last year of their leases with Metrodome in 2002. It was a winter of uncertainty as Major League Baseball and the state of Minnesota was in and out of courtrooms, and testified before congress. Uncovered during the hearings was the fact that owner Carl Pohlad received an offer to buy the team, but turned it down because he was set to receive more money in a Major League buyout for contraction. Eventually, the state of Minnesota had an injunction granted, forcing the Twins to honor their lease.
2002: After a winter in which it was unknown if they would ever play another game, the Twins get off to a fast start taking control of the American League Central early in the season under new manager Ron Gardenhire. The Twins would go on to cruise to their first division title in 11 years with a solid record of 94-67. Along the way, longtime Twin Eddie Guardado became automatic out of the bullpen with a club record 45 saves. In the playoffs, the Twins would get off to a shaky start as they committed three errors in the first two innings falling behind 5-1 to the Oakland Athletics in Game 1. However, the Twins would settle down and come back to win 7-5. However, after losing Games 2 and 3, the Twins would have to over adversity again. After blowing out the A’s at home 11-2 in Game 4, the Twins would stun the Athletics in Oakland 5-4 as they survived a ninth Inning rally to advance to the ALCS. In the ALCS against the Anaheim Angels, the Twins would capture Game 1 at the Homerdome 2-1, as Joe Mays outdueled Kevin Appier. The rest of the way, it was the Twins. They were shut down, as they were held homerless on the series falling in five games.
2003: Looking to win their second straight division title, the Twins got off to a Helter Skelter start either being swept or sweeping their opponent in their first 21 games. Over the next six weeks, the Twins would play a more consistent baseball game as they climbed to the top of the Central Division. However in the Twins would suffer a significant June swoon as they lost 22 of their next 28 games and entered the All-Star Break with a 44-49 record, trailing the Kansas City Royals by seven and a half games. Hoping to give themselves a jumpstart, the Twins acquired Shannon Stewart from the Toronto Blue Jays at the start of the second half. Stewart would provide just the spark that the Twins needed batting .322 as the Twins cut away at the Royals lead. By September, the Twins were back in first place as the used a ten-game winning streak to pull away from the fading Royals. The Twins clinched their second straight division title with a week to go, as they posted a solid 90-70 record, despite closing the season by losing three of their last four games to the lowly Detroit Tigers. In the ALDS, the Twins faced the New York Yankees and got off to a good start beating the Yankees for the first time in 13 games 3-1 as the Twins bullpen kept the Yankees at bay after Johan Santana was forced to leave the game early due to an injury. The Yankees would bounce back to win Game 2, as the Yankees broke open a 1-1 tie with three runs in the seventh inning. As the series shifted to the Metrodome, the Yankees dominance of the Twins resumed as the Yankees easily won both games by a combined score of 11-2 as the Yankees won the series in four games.
2004: In their quest for a third straight division title, the Twins got off to a solid start posting a 15-7 record in April as Joe Nathan quickly established himself as a reliable closer on the way to a 44-save season. After playing mediocre ball in May and June, the Twins looking to jumpstart their offense called up Justin Morneau. Morneau would help provide just the spark the Twins as he hit 19 home runs in 74 games. With Morneau starting at first, the Twins would deal Doug Mientkiewicz to the Boston Red Sox at the trade deadline. Meanwhile, Johan Santana was unhittable in the second half posting a 13-0 record with a microscopic 1.82 ERA as he went on to capture the American League Cy Young award as the Twins pulled away down the stretch to win their 3rd straight AL Central Division Championship with a record of 92-70. In the playoffs, the Twins would face the New York Yankees in an ALDS rematch. In Game 1, Santana continued his dominance as the Twins took the series opener 2-0. With a chance to take a 2-0 series lead to Minnesota, the Twins rallied to take a 6-5 lead in the 12th inning after tying the game in the eighth Inning on Corey Koskie’s two-run double. In his third inning of work, Joe Nathan was hit hard as the Yankees scored twice to even the series. After losing Game 3 at home 8-4, the Twins turned to Johan Santana to get the series to a decisive fifth game. Santana was strong again as the Twins jumped out to a 5-1 lead. However, pitching on short rest, Santana could only go five innings. The Twins bullpen would be unable to hold the lead as the Yankees roughed up Juan Rincon for four runs in the eighth inning before winning the game 6-5 in 11 innings to take the series in four games for the second straight year.
2005: After three straight division titles, the Twins were considered the favorite in the American League Central as the season began led by Johan Santana, who was coming off an impressive Cy Young season. However, they would find themselves in an early hole as the Chicago White Sox got off to a fast start, winning four of five games over the Twins. Through May, the Twins did manage to stay close to the White Sox, but beginning in June found themselves fading as a 4-11 stretch was just the start of struggles that would hamper the Twins for the rest of the season. The culprit for much of the Twins struggles would be their offense as only two players managed to hit more the 20 homers and drive in more than 70 RBI, which would hurt Santana’s shot at a second straight Cy Young as his 2.87 ERA only produced a 16-7 record as the Twins limped to a third-place finish with a mediocre 83-79 record
2006: A year after finishing in third place, the Twins had hopes of returning to the playoffs when the season began. A sluggish start had them in a deep hole before the weather even turned in the Twin Cities. Starting with five losses in their first six games, the Twins found themselves sending out an SOS on May 1st as they were 9-16 and already nine games out of first. The Twins would not play much better in May as they were 11 and a half games out of a wild card spot as they were wilting in fourth place with a 27-34 record on June 10th. Suddenly the Twins woke up from a season-long snooze and caught fire winning 19 of their next 20 games. Francisco Liriano became a dominant counter punch to Johan Santana, who was in the middle of winning his second Cy Young in three years with a 19-6 record with a 2.77 ERA and 245 strikeouts, all of which led the league. Meanwhile, at the plate, the Twins offense was led by Joe Mauer with a .347 became the first catcher in American League history to winning a batting title, joining Bubbles Hargrave 1924 and Ernie Lombardi 1938 and 1942 as the only catchers in either league to win batting crowns. While Mauer was getting on, it was Justin Morneau who was getting him in. Like the Twins, Morneau got off to a terrible start as entered June with a .240 batting average. As the Twins streaked, so did Morneau as he raised his batting average 33 points each of the next two months and was nearly impossible to get out as he ended the season with a .321 average and 34 home runs with 130 RBI, winning the AL MVP. Slowly as summer arrived, the Twins climbed back into the playoff picture, eventually galloping past the Chicago White Sox into second place in the AL Central, but first place in the Wild Card Race. August would see a slight bump in the road as Liriano, who was dominating with a 12-3 record and an ERA of 2.16, suffered a season-ending elbow injury. However, the Twins would not be denied as they slowly crept up to and caught the first-place Tigers winning the Division Title with a record of 96-66. In the playoffs, the Twins were matched up the Oakland Athletics in the ALDS and found themselves in a hole once again as they dropped Game 1 at home with Johan Santana on the mound 3-2. The hole would grow even deeper as they also lost Game 2 at home 5-2. The series shifted to Oakland for Game 3 as Brad Radke, who pitched all season with a torn labrum, was pitching to extend the Twins season and his career as the Twins longtime sold pitcher had already indicated he would retire following season. However, there would be storybook ending for Radke and the Twins as the A’s won going away to complete the sweep 8-3.
2007: After their fourth division titles in five years, the Twins were already a man short. Francisco Liriano, the rookie pitcher who helped their second-half turnaround, was lost for the season after off-season Tommy John surgery on his left elbow. In a competitive division headed by the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians, the lack of a second quality pitcher behind Johan Santana would prove too costly as the Twins had trouble staying in the race, as they ended the first half at 45-43. When the trade deadline approached, the Twins who were still above .500 took a realistic view of their chances and decided to trade 2B Luis Castillo to the New York Mets for a minor leaguer. The move seemed to have a negative effect on the entire clubhouse as the Twins struggled over the final two months. Johan Santana struggled down the stretch with a 4-5 record over in August and September with a higher than normal ERA. While work began on a new stadium, securing the team’s future in the Twin Cities, the immediate future looked much bleaker as the cost-saving Twins again were losers on the free-agent market as Torii Hunter bolted for a deal with the Los Angeles Angels. Fearing losing another star following the 2008 season, the Twins began looking for a deal to trade ace Johan Santana after they were unable to secure a contract extension. At the winter meetings, the Twins held out for the best offer hoping the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox would bid against each other and deliver the Twins a package of talented prospects. However, the move backfired as the Twins demands for a high ranking prospect took the Red Sox and Yankees both out of the equation. With both no longer bidding for Santana, the Twins were forced to look for the next best deal before the season started. They traded the two time Cy Young winner, who had been the best pitcher in baseball over the last four season to the New York Mets for OF Carlos Gomez, who was slated to replace Hunter and pitchers Phil Humber, Deolis Guerra, and Kevin Mulvey.
2008: After losing Torii Hunter to free agency and trading Johan, Santana’s expectations were not high in Minnesota. Francisco Liriano started the season in the minors as he was still recovering from elbow surgery. After hovering around .500 for the first two seasons, the Twins, who began June in a slump caught fire, winning ten straight and 12-of-13 as they ended the month just two games out of first place in the American League Central. Among the early highlights for the Twins was a cycle from Carlos Gomez on May 7th, becoming the third-youngest player in MLB history at the age of 21 to collect a cycle. The Twins continued to play well into July, as they entered the All-Star Break just a game behind the first-place Chicago White Sox with a record of 53-42. At the All-Star game at Yankee Stadium, Justin Morneau played a central role, winning the Home Run Derby, and scoring the winning run in the 15th inning of the American League’s 4-3 win. The Twins would battle the White Sox all season for the division title as Morneau led the way with 129 RBI, finishing second in MVP voting, while Joe Mauer won his second batting title in three years with a .328 average. The Twins finally grabbed first place by a half-game with three games left in the season as Alexi Casilla singled home down the stretch with a three-game sweep of the White Sox at the Metrodome Nick Punto on September 25th to give the Twins a dramatic 7-6 win in extra innings. With a chance to win the division, the Twins lost two of their last three games against the Kansas City Royals. The losses did not cost the Twins the division title, but it forced them to wait and watch the White Sox play a makeup game against the Detroit Tigers. If the Sox won, it would force a one-game tiebreaker to determine who went on to the postseason. After the White Sox won that game, the Twins were forced to head to Chicago with the Central Division title on the line. The game’s location was determined by a coin flip, despite the Twins winning the season series with their division rivals 10-9, as they had won eight of nine games played in the Metrodome. The game would be a pitcher’s duel as Nick Blackburn held the White Sox off the board for the first six innings. However, a seventh-inning home run would be all the White Sox would need, as the Twins managed just two hits of John Danks and Bobby Jenks in a heartbreaking 1-0 loss that ended their season at 88-75 and in second place. MLB would review the tiebreaker policy following the game, deciding to award home field to the winner of the season series.
2009: As the Twins entered the final season of baseball at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, they were down a man as Joe Mauer missed all of April with inflammation in the sacroiliac joint. Without their leading hitter, the Twins would thread water posting an 11-11 record. Mauer would return on May 1st and went two for three with an RBI and three runs scored. Mauer would hit 11 home runs in May. He would establish new career highs in home runs with 28 RBI with 96 while winning his third batting title in four seasons with a career-best mark of .365. Joe Mauer would also lead the American League in On-Base percentage and slugging on the way to being named American League MVP. However, despite the stellar season from their star catcher, the Twins continued to thread water most of the season hovering around .500. On Labor Day, the Twins held a 68-68 record and were seven games behind the first-place Detroit Tigers. The Tigers would struggle over the next week, but the Twins failed to take advantage, falling to 70-72, as their five-and-half-game deficit seemed too much to overcome with 20 games to go. The Twins would again make a late September surge, winning six straight, including two straight over the Tigers at the Metrodome, to climb within two first-place games. After losing the series finale to the Tigers, the Twins continued to stay hot, winning five in a row to enter a four-game series with the Tigers in Detroit, just two games out of first. After the Twins won the opener, the Tigers rebounded to take the next two and only needed to win the finale to clinch the American League Central. With Scott Baker on the mound and eight runs produced by the offense, the Twins kept their faint playoff hopes alive. Trailing by two games with three games left, the Twins would sweep the Kansas City Royals. Meanwhile, the Tigers lost two of three games to the Chicago White Sox, allowing the Twins to finish tied for first place at 86-76 for the second straight season. After winning the season series over the Tigers, the Twins would host the tiebreaker at the Metrodome with Scott Baker opposing Rick Porcello. The 163rd game of the season would be the most thrilling as the Tigers jumped out to a 3-0 lead. The Twins would, however, answer back, as Jason Kubel cut the deficit to 3-2 with a home run in 6th inning, as Orlando Cabrera gave them a 4-3 lead with a two-run homer in the 7th inning. Maglio Ordonez would answer with a home run of his own in the eighth inning as the game went to extra innings tied 4-4. The Tigers would grab the lead in the 10th inning on a double by Brandon Inge. The Twins would fight back again, as Michael Cuddyer led off with a triple and came around to score on a single by Matt Tolbert. With one out Nick Punto appeared to have the game won as Nick Punto sent a screaming line-drive to Leftfield. However, it would be caught by Ryan Rayburn, who pegged Alexi Casilla, trying to score the winning run at home plate. After a scoreless 11th inning, Carlos Gomez led off the bottom of the 12th inning with a single to left. After Cuddyer forced Gomez over to second, and Delmon Young was walked, Casilla came to the plate with a chance to be the hero again and did not disappoint lining a single to right to give the Twins a 6-5 win and the American League Central Division Championship. The Twins would not have much time to celebrate as they had to face the New York Yankees in the ALCS less than 24 hours later. After suffering a 7-2 loss in Game 1, the Twins appeared to be on the way to evening the series with a 3-1 lead in the 9th inning of Game 2. However, Joe Nathan was unable to close it out, as he gave up a two-run home run to Alex Rodriguez. The Twins would see an 11th inning rally short-circuited, when Umpire Phil Cuzzi, mistakenly called a double down the LF line by Joe Mauer foul. The Yankees would take advantage and win the game 4-3 on a homer by Mark Teixeira. The series shifted to the Metrodome, where the Yankees would complete the sweep with a 4-1 win.
2010: As the Twins prepared to open Target Field, their new open-air stadium in downtown Minneapolis, they made sure to lock up their best player, signing MVP Joe Mauer, a St. Paul native, to an eight-year contract extension worth $184 million. After opening the season with a solid 5-2 road trip, the Twins began a new era in Minnesota baseball with a 5-2 win over the Boston Red Sox on April 12th, as Jason Kubel christened the stadium with a home run, as Carl Pavano started and got the win. The Twins played well their first month in Target Field and ended April in first place with a record of 15-8. The Twins continued to play well through May and held on to their division lead until the end of June. As July arrived, the Twins started to hit some bumps in the road, as Justin Morneau suffered a season-ending concussion on July 7th, trying to break up a double play against the Toronto Blue Jays. Morneau appeared to be on track to have an MVP type season, hitting .345 with 18 home runs and 56 RBI before the injury. The Twins would slip into second place four and a half games behind the Chicago White Sox as the second half began. That would be the low water mark as the Twins won the next three games of four-game series with the White Sox to start their comeback. As the trade deadline approached, the Twins upgraded their bullpen, acquiring Matt Capps from the Washington Nationals to go along with Jon Rausch. He was forced into the closer role when Joe Nathan underwent Tommy John surgery before the start of the season. A month later, the Twins would take two of three games in Chicago to reclaim the division lead. The Twins would post an 18-10 mark in August and a 17-10 mark in September and would pull away to win the American League Central for the second straight season with a record of 94-68, as Ron Gardenhire finally received due recognition as Manager of the Year. Joe Mauer was not able to equal his MVP numbers, but he had a solid .327 average, with nine home runs and 76 RBI. Designated Hitter Jim Thome hit 25 homers with 59 RBI, while Delmon Young led the Twins with 112 RBI. In the ALDS, the Twins were up against the New York Yankees again, this time with the first two games at Target Field. Once again, the Yankees would frustrate the Twins with some late-inning magic, winning 6-4 in Game 1 on Mark Teixeira’s two-run home run in the seventh inning. The Yankees would also win Game 2 at Target Field 5-2. They would go on to complete the sweep with a 6-1 win at Yankee Stadium in Game 3.
2011: After two straight division titles and two consecutive sweeps at the hands of the New York Yankees, the Twins entered their second season at Target Field, hoping to finally get past the team in the Bronx as they continued to hold the crown in the Central Division. The return of Closer Joe Nathan spurred the Twins as they re-signed free agents Carl Pavano and Jim Thome. In addition, they signed Tsuyoshi Nishioka from Japan to play Shortstop. Sadly Nishioka would suffer a broken leg just a week into his career when Nick Swisher of the New York Yankees slid into him at second base. After posting a 2-4 record on the road, the Twins came home to face the Oakland Athletics, which they would win 2-1 with Pavano getting the win and Nathan getting the save. However, the Twins’ early-season struggles continued as they won just two of their five games in their first homestand. Among the Twins who struggled in the early part of the season were Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, who seemed to still be struggling from the after-effects of his concussion. The Twins would finish their first month with a record of 9-17. After losing a sixth straight game to the Kansas City Royals on May 1st, the Twins were looking for anything that would give them a spark. On May 3rd, it appeared they got just what the doctor ordered as Francisco Liriano pitched a no-hitter in a 1-0 win over the Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field. It would be the first of three straight wins for the Twins, but it would not last as they lost their next nine games and ended May continuing to wallow in last place with an awful record of 17-36. In June, they would finally start to put together some wins, as they won 17 games, equaling their total from April and May. The Twins would continue their turn around until the All-Star Break, as they got back within five games of first place, after trailing by 16 and a half games on June 1st. After the break, the Twins continued to play well as they won five of their first eight games on a 12 game homestand against divisional rivals, but they would drop three of the next four games to the first-place Detroit Tigers. Despite a 50-58 record, the Twins felt they still had a chance for the playoffs as they were seven games out of first, a deficit they had overcome in the past. In August, the bottom fell out as the Twins plummeted out of the race and crash-landed back into last place as they won posted an awful record of 7-21 during the dog days of summer. Not everything was terrible in August, as Jim Thome hit his 599th and 600th career home runs at Comerica Park. Thome was the eighth player in Major League history to hit 600 home runs, joining Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Ken Griffey Jr., and Alex Rodriguez as the Twins won 9-6. Ten days later, Thome would be sent to the Cleveland Indians in a waiver deal. Things would be even worse in September as the Twins endured an 11 game losing streak and again lost 20 games, as they finished with the worst record in the American League at 63-99. Despite their terrible season, the Twins drew over three million fans for the second straight season. Among the major disappointments for the Twins were Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer, who only managed 30 RBI as the Twins offense was one of the worst in baseball.
2012: Coming off a miserable 99 loss season, the Twins knew it was time to rebuild, but with Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer locked into long term deals and the farm system dried out, there was little hope of improvement. Things would start, poorly for the Twins, as they lost 15 of their 20 games, although they did manage to split a four-game series against the New York Yankees in the Bronx. The Twins struggles continued into May, as they held a record of 10-26 on May 15th. As May turned into June, the Twins showed some signs of life, winning 10 of 13 games as they had a winning record in June. The Twins would get within ten games of first place, during July. It would not last, as they posted a 9-19 record in August and tumbled back down the American League Central Division standings, finishing in last place with a record of 66-96 that again was the worst in the American League.
2013: Coming off two straight 90-loss seasons, the Twins were in a rebuild mode as they looked at ways to get back on the winning track while focusing on the future. The Twins started well, taking four of their first six games as they won the opening series at Target Field against the defending American League Champions Detroit Tigers. However, maintaining consistency was not as easy as the Twins had four-game postponed by inclement weather as they posted an 11-12 record. The Twins would continue to hover around .500 until May 14th, when they began a ten-game losing streak facing the Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves and Detroit Tigers. Against an easier schedule in June, the Twins would play much better splitting 26 games. Any hopes at putting together a winning season would go up in smoke as July began as they suffered a four-game sweep at the hands of the New York Yankees at Target Field. The Twins would go into the All-Star Break by winning a three-game series in the Bronx, the Twins 39-53 record at the break was once again one of the worst in the American League. The change would come in August as former MVP Justin Morneau is traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Alex Presley and a player to be named later (Duke Welker). Despite the trade, Morneau would still lead the Twins with 74 RBI, while hitting 17 homers. The Twins did not have anyone hit 20 homers as Brian Dozier led the way with 18. The Twins pitching staff was not much better, as off-season acquisitions Mike Pelfrey and Vance Worley both disappointed. Pelfrey, who was signed as a Free Agent, posted a record of 5-13, with an ERA of 5.19. While Worley, who was acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies for Ben Revere made the start on opening day and was sent to the minors before the end of May, posting a record of 1-5 with an awful ERA of 7.21 along the way. The Twins would finish with a record of 66-96 for the second straight year as they finished in fourth place.
2014: For the first time in three decades, the All-Stars were coming to the Twin Cities, as Target Field was chosen to host its first All-Star Game. There was not much else for fans to look forward to as the Minnesota Twins were still in a rebuilding mode. Through most of the first six months, the Twins played competitive baseball, holding a record of 23-21 through the first 44 games. In second place and five games behind the first-place Detroit Tigers, the Twins were at their high-water and after being swept by the San Francisco Giants never again were at .500. After holding a 44-50 record at the All-Star Break. Catcher Kurt Suzuki and Glen Perkins represented the Twins in what would be one of the coldest All-Star Games in the history of the midsummer classic with temperatures struggling to get out of the 60s at Target Field. The American League would go on to win the game 5-3. Suzuki made his first All-Star Game as an injury replacement, batted .288 on the season, with 61 RBI. Perkins meanwhile saved 34 games as the closer of the Twins. The Twins were a nonfactor in the second half, finishing in last place with a record of 70-92. Following the season, the Twins would fire Ron Gardenhire. During his 13 years as the manager of the Twins, Gardenhire, the Twins won six division titles and posted a record of 1068-1039. However, the last four seasons were the Twins’ worst stretch in franchise history.
2015: After four straight 90-loss seasons, the Minnesota Twins were starting over with New Manager Paul Molitor. Molitor, a St. Paul native, got his 3,000th career hit with the Twins in 1996. After ending his Hall of Fame career with the Twins in 1998, Paul Molitor served as bench coach under Tom Kelly for three years. When Kelly retired, Molitor was given a chance to take the job but turned it down as the Twins were considered for contraction at the time. After spending time as the Seattle Mariners hitting coach, Molitor returned to the Twin Cities in 2014. Also returning to Minnesota was Torii Hunter, a former All-Star and Gold Glover who was one of the team’s most popular players at the start of the new millennium. Turning 40 on July 18th, Torii Hunter, whose son was a star receiver at Notre Dame, showed he still had some skills left, with 22 home runs and a team-high 88 RBI. The Twins would have an ugly first week that saw Twins lose five of the first six games on the road, including an opening series in which they were outscored by the Detroit Tigers 22-1. Things did not get any better in the home opener, as the Twins were pounded by the Kansas City Royals 12-3. The Twins would rebound to win the next two games against the defending American League Champion Royals. They would play well the rest of April, posting a record of 10-12. May would see the Twins blossom, as they climbed over .500, by winning nine of ten to start the month. Youth was a big key to the Twins’ success as Eddie Rosario seeing his first pitch in the majors, homered off Scott Kazmir of the Oakland Athletics on May 6th, sparking the Twins to a 13-0 win. Rosario would finish his rookie season with a .267 average, 13 home runs, and 50 RBI. The Twins would win 20 games in May and took over first place in the Central Division. As with many young teams, the Twins had trouble maintaining any consistency as they suffered a June swoon, with a record of 11-17. Before the All-Star Break, the Twins got back on track as All-Star second basemen Brian Dozier had two walk-off home runs in one week. Dozier who would homer in the All-Star Game was the Twins best power hitter all season with a team-best 28 home runs. On the mound, the Twins were led by Kyle Gibson and Phil Hughes, who each won a team-best 11 games. Though trailing the Royals by eight games, the Twins were right in the thick of the Wild Card race as the second half began. Still, the Twins focused more on the future did not have any significant deals at the trade deadline. The Twins would remain in the Wild Card race well into September before ending the season with a record of 83-79 that saw them fall three games short of the second Wild Card.
2016: Coming off a positive season where they posted a winning record for the first time in five years, the Minnesota Twins hoped to take another step forward. Instead, it was apparent early the Twins were taking several steps back. The season could not have started worse for the Twins, as they lost their first nine games. The Twins misery would finally end on Jackie Robinson Day, as they beat the Los Angeles Angels 5-4 on April 15th. The Twins would sweep the Angels at Target Field, but could not get back on track as they finished the first month of the season with a record of 7-17. May would not be much better for the Twins, as they lost eight straight in the month and held a record of 15-36 heading into June. The losses continued to mount in June, as the Twins found themselves holding a 25-53 record at the end of June. The month of July would bring some positives for the Twins as they posted a winning record for the month at 15-11. However, August brought more misery for Minnesota as they lost 20 games, ending the month with 13 straight losses. The Twins would spend the entire season in last place, and posted their worst record since moving to Minnesota at 59-103. In a season of darkness, Brian Dozier provided a ray of light, with 42 home runs and 99 RBI.
2017: After suffering a 59-103 season, the goal for the Minnesota Twins was to climb back towards respectability. The Twins took an essential step towards that goal, starting the season with a three-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals at Target Field. The Twins had their ups and downs in April but ended the month at 12-11. The Twins continued to play winning baseball in May, as they spent most of the month in first place, as they went into June holding a record of 26-23 to sit in a flat-footed tie with the Cleveland Indians. A key to Twins’ early success was Ervin Santana, who won seven of his first nine decisions. Santana finished the season with a record of 16-8 with an ERA of 3.28. The Twins continued to battle the Indians for first Place in June but were dealt a cold slap of reality when the Tribe swept them in a four-game series in Minnesota. The Twins returned the favor a week later, winning three straight in Cleveland, but it would be the last time they were in first all season, as the next six weeks would see the young Twins suffer through growing pains. After falling below .500 at the end of July, the Twins rebounded to win 20 games in August to reenter the playoff chase. While the Indians pulled away to win the division with a 22-game winning streak, the Twins by keeping their head above water, managed to swipe the second Wild Card in the American League with a record of 85-77, becoming the first team to make the playoffs a season after losing 100 games the year before. The Twins remarkable turnaround led to Paul Molitor being named Manager of the Year. While Ervin Santana emerged as Minnesota???? ace, the Twins got a solid season from Jose Berrios, who went 14-8, with an ERA of 3.89. Brian Dozier had another solid season at the plate, with a .271 average, while leading the team with 34 home runs and 93 RBI. The Twins also had two young players have breakout seasons, as Miguel Sano hit .264 with 28 homers and 77 RBI, while Eddie Rosario hit .290 with 27 home runs and 78 RBI.
2017 Wild Card: The Minnesota Twins would face a tough task as they went to the Bronx to face the New York Yankees, who over the years have had their number for a trip to the Division Series. The Twins got off to a good start in the Wild Card Game, as Brian Dozier and Eddie Rosario hit home runs as Minnesota scored three runs in the first inning. However, the Yankees answered as Didi Gregorius hit a three-run homer off Ervin Santana. The Yankees would take a 4-3 lead as Brett Gardner hit a solo shot off Santana in the second, but the Twins fought back and tied the game in the fourth. However, the Yankees bullpen settled down, while Aaron Judge hit a two-run shot off Jose Berrios on the way to leading the Yankees to an 8-4 win.
2018: After playing in the Wild Card game, the Minnesota Twins looked to take the next step. In the early going, the Twins looked fine, winning seven of their first 11 games. However, they won just two of their next 13 games and found themselves floundering at 9-15. Among the Twins that were struggling was Miguel Sano, who had a breakout season in 2017, but was struggling around the Mendoza Line and sent down to the minors. Sano would be the face of the Minnesota Twins disappointing season as he hit .199 with 13 home runs and 64 RBI. Byron Buxton also was a massive disappointment for Minnesota as he dealt with nagging injuries and was also sent down to the minors after hitting a paltry .156. Buxton, who won the Gold Glove in 2017, would not return, as the Twins did not even invite him back with the September callups. A move that would not sit well with the second overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft. The Twins looked to strengthen their rotation before the season, adding Lance Lynn and Jake Odorizzi, but both struggled as the Twins could never dig out of the hole, even playing in a historically bad division that had three of five teams lose 98 or more games. As the trade deadline approached, the Twins were sellers as Lynn was traded to the New York Yankees for Tyler Austin and Luis Rijo. The Twins also traded away former All-Star Brian Dozier, sending him to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Logan Forsythe and two prospects (Devin Smelter and Luke Raley). The Twins would finish the season with a disappointing record of 78-84. Paul Molitor would pay for the disappointing season as the 2017 Manager of the Year was fired. As the season came to an end, so did the career of Joe Mauer. Born and raised in St. Paul, Mauer was the first player chosen in the 1999 MLB Draft. Making his debut in 2004, Joe Mauer became an instant fan favorite for his hometown team. Joe Mauer would spend his entire 15-year career with the Twins, becoming the first catcher in seven decades to win the batting title in 2006. Joe Mauer, who was the Twins’ captain, won three batting titles, three gold gloves, and MVP in 2009. The six-time All-Star finished his career by playing his last game at catcher, his first game behind the plate since 2013. A .306 career average should be enough for Joe Mauer to earn induction into the Hall of Fame. The Twins would also retire his #7.
2019: Coming off a disappointing season, the Minnesota Twins looked to add power to their lineup by acquiring DH Nelson Cruz along with C.J. Cron and Marwin Gonzalez. The Twins were a team full of players looking to bounce back off poor showings in 2018 as Rocco Baldelli took over as manager. The new bats would lead to an unprecedented power surge in Minnesota, as the Twins got off to a fast start, taking the lead in the Central Division by posting a record of 17-10 at the end of April. They would play even better baseball in May, winning 21 games as they built a ten-game lead over the Cleveland Indians. Miguel Sano, who went from All-Star to minor leaguer in 2018, rebounded excellently in 2019. After missing a month from Achilles surgery, Sano hit 34 home runs. He was one of an MLB record five Twins to top 30 home runs, as he was joined by Nelson Cruz, who led the way with 41 homers, Max Kepler, who had 36, Eddie Rosario who had 32 and Mitch Garver who had 31. Garver was the Twins’ breakout star in 2019, batting .273 with a .995 OPS to win the silver slugger award at the catcher position. The Twins had a record eight players with 20 or more home runs, with C.J. Cron hitting 25 dingers, Jonathan Schoop hitting 23, and Jorge Polanco hitting 22 home runs. The Twins set a major league record with 307 home runs. The Twins had some magic on the mound, as Jake Odorizzi, who disappointed in 2015, posted a record of 15-7 with a 3.51 ERA. Jose Berrios also had a strong year, posting a record of 14-8 with a 3.68 ERA. Taylor Rodgers meanwhile emerged as a reliable closer, saving 30 games. Minnesota went into a mini-slump in July, allowing the Cleveland Indians to catch up in the division race. However, after the Indians pulled into a flat-footed tie on August 11th, the Twins woke up and won 11 of 14 to re-establish their lead. The Twins would win 18 games in September, clinching their first division championship since 2010. The Twins would win 100 games for just the second time in team history, posting a record of 101-61 as Rocco Baldelli was named Manager of the Year.
2019 ALDS: The Minnesota Twins had a satisfying 101-61 season, a record 307 home runs, and the unfortunate draw of facing the New York Yankees in the Division Series. Over the last two decades, the Yankees and Twins have become familiar foes. It was the fifth time they were playing in the ALDS; they also played in the 27 Wild Card Game. None of those meetings came up in Minnesota’s favor. The Twins came into the series losing ten-straight postseason games to the Yankees dating back to the 2004 ALDS, when the Yankees won three straight games, after dropping Game 1. The Yankees had battled the Twins all season for the home run record, as they had 306. The Twins had a 2-0 lead in Game 1, with home runs by Jorge Polanco and Nelson Cruz. However, a crucial error by C.J. Cron allowed the Yankees to take the lead in the third inning. The Yankees would go on to win 10-4. In Game 2, Randy Dobnak was a surprise starter and taunted with chants of “Uber” as the Yankees scored seven runs in the third inning on the way to an easy 8-2 win. As the series shifted to Target Field, the Twins hoped they could end their October frustrations with Jake Odorizzi on the mound. However, the Twins’ bats fell flat as the Yankees completed the three-game sweep with a 5-1 win. The loss extended the Twins postseason losing streak to 16 games. The 16-game losing streak matched the record held by the Chicago Blackhawks for the longest playoff losing streak among the four major sports. Of the 16 straight losses, 13 came at the hands of the New York Yankees.
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Page created on July 9, 2001. Last updated on June 1, 2020 at 1:30 am ET.