I’m not prepared to say that one at-bat can turn a season around, but in this case, two at-bats can improve the Twins psyche where the New York Yankees are concerned. The first at-bat was Twins DH Jim Thome facing Yankee reliever Mariano Rivera in the 8th. It’s the kind of plate appearance that Twins hitters usually fail at. But Thome’s professional approach and his ability to foul off a couple of nasty Rivera offerings led to him working out a two-out walk on a pitch three inches outside.
That led the way to Jason Kubel’s at-bat. Kubel was able to pull a Rivera pitch down the right field line for his sixth career grand slam and give the Twins a 6-3 win.
The Twins will most likely see the Yankees again this postseason, and leaving New York without a win would have most certainly had a lasting effect on their collective egos. Minnesota hadn’t won in New York since the Carter Administration, or at least that’s how long it felt like.
So remember those two at-bats. Without them, I would have tore up my Twins/Yankees tickets for May 26th.