MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Sonny Gray pitched seven scoreless innings and Joey Gallo homered as the two former Yankees propelled the Minnesota Twins to a 6-1 win against New York on Monday night.
Jorge Polanco added two hits and three RBIs for Minnesota. Polanco has hit safely in all four games this season after his start was delayed due to left knee inflammation in the spring.
Gallo has three homers in six games since being activated from the injured list.
“They went out there today, had huge days and I’m sure this is one of those nights they will sleep good and they will feel good when they lay their head on the pillow when it’s dark in the room,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said of Gray and Gallo. “They’re going to go to bed feeling really good, and they should.”
The Twins have won three of the first five meetings with their longtime nemesis this year. The Yankees are 100-41 against Minnesota in the regular season since 2002, the best record for any team versus one opponent during that span.
New York is also 16-2 against the Twins in the postseason during that stretch.
Gray (3-0) gave up three hits and struck out eight, lowering his ERA to a big league-best 0.62. It’s the third-lowest ERA through a starting pitcher’s first five games of a season in Twins/Washington Senators history since 1913, trailing only Walter Johnson (0.24 in 1913) and Eddie Matteson (0.55 in 1918).
The veteran right-hander, who went 15-16 with a 4.51 ERA in parts of two seasons for New York, has allowed two runs in 29 innings this season with 34 strikeouts.
“You pitch against former teams and they always have a little bit of a bigger meaning,” Gray said. “You always kind of feel a little bit different going against those teams. So, yeah, but having said that, we need to focus on us. We need to continue to build and continue to grind out this homestand.”
The Yankees, who split a four-game series with the Twins in New York this month, were coming off their first series loss of the season at home against Toronto over the weekend.
“Sonny’s throwing the ball great,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “It’s kind of more of the same of what he’s been doing all year. But that being said, we’re the Yankees and we’ve got to find a way to do a little better than that.”
New York rookie Jhony Brito (2-2) had another tough outing against the Twins, allowing three runs on three hits and three walks. He threw 80 pitches in just 2 2/3 innings after he had his worst start against Minnesota in New York on April 13, giving up seven runs while getting just two outs.
“Two strikes, they were finding a way to foul off good pitches, the good ones I executed, and even just making contact with it,” Brito said through an interpreter.
Yankees: Boone said reliever Lou Trivino had elbow pain while rehabbing from right biceps tendinitis. Trivino will travel to New York this week to see a doctor. … CF Harrison Bader (left oblique strain) will move his rehab assignment to Triple-A. Boone said Bader is still more than a week from returning. … RHP Tommy Kahnle (right biceps tendinitis) will throw off a mound for the first time at some point near the end of the current road trip. He’s been throwing from 120 feet.
Twins: RHP Kenta Maeda (ankle) threw a bullpen and is set to start Wednesday’s series finale. Maeda was hit by a comebacker in his last start. RHP Bailey Ober, who made a spot start Sunday and allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings, was optioned back to Triple-A St. Paul with Maeda ready.
LHP Nestor Cortes (3-0, 3.09 ERA) starts Tuesday for New York. Minnesota will go with RHP Joe Ryan (4-0, 3.24).
Cortes permitted three earned runs last time out, breaking a streak of nine straight starts with two earned runs allowed or fewer. He’s given up three or less in his past 16 starts. Ryan had 10 strikeouts and allowed one run in seven innings in a win at Yankee Stadium on April 13.