The Yankees were devastated by the Twins after a brutal first inning


April 13, 2023 | 9:52 p.m

Somewhere on Thursday night, Joe Mauer, Brian Dozier, and Justin Morneau had to raise a toast, and their Minnesota heirs did what they so often fail to do:

Beat a heck of the Yankees.

The Twins smashed three straight home runs, knocked Johnny Prieto out of the game in the first inning and threw haymaker after haymaker against a club they had never gotten off the mat in an 11-2 Yankees loss in front of 39,024 dissatisfied customers in the Bronx.

Fans were shocked, and for good reason: The Yankees (8-5), who won their first four series of the season, went into play 98-38 against Minnesota since 2002, which was the best record of any team against interleague opponents in the period.

The Yankees have won 14 of the past 16 series against the Twins dating back to July 2014, when Mauer and Dozier used to serve 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 crush Britto in an apparent attempt at an exorcism that has lasted for a few decades.

Brito — a 25-year-old rookie who’s been incredibly solid in his first two games — faced nine batters and scored just two runs in 28 minutes of the first. The twins loaded the bases before a sacrifice fly and three pairs (of Jose Miranda, Donovan Solano, and Christian Vasquez) hit five runs.

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Aaron Boone took out Johnny Prieto during the first inning of the Yankees’ 11-2 loss to the Twins.
Charles Winzelberg/New York Post

Brito’s 34th and final pitch was a fastball in the middle off No. 9 batter Michael A.J. Taylor, who blasted his first home run to put the Yankees into a 7-0 hole before many fans got to their seats.

Colten Brewer came in and dumped lighter fluid when water was needed. Brewer, who allowed one and zero hits in his first five Yankees innings, followed up Taylor’s explosion by handing two more walks to Edward Julian (the first of his career) and Carlos Correa.

Danger Corea, right center, was the last straw for Yankees fans, who rained boos onto the field as the hated former Astro ran around the bases.

The Yankees calmed down and allowed two more runs the rest of the way, but everything that followed the top of the first—including a scoreless ninth inning by quarterback-turned-pitcher Isiah Kiner-Falefa—was rudimentary.

From left to right: Anthony Rizzo, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Anthony Volpe wear somber expressions during the Yankees’ ugly loss.
Getty Images

The Twins collected eight hits in the first inning. The Yankees finished with four hits, the most significant of which was a home run from Anthony Rizzo.

Brito, who is in the rotation because Frankie Montas, Carlos Rodon and Luis Severino are racked up, impressed all spring and allowed just one run in 10 innings against the Giants and Orioles to start his major league career.

Thursday, there was no apparent decrease in speed or movement, but it did have a bit of a drive. Even one of the two he hit right-footed—a sacrifice fly by Trevor Larnach—was sent 364 feet out, dead in the glove of Aaron Judge at deep center. Prieto consistently put him on the tee, and the Twins took an ERA of 0.90 and pumped it up to 6.75.

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The Yankees batsmen didn’t have much opportunity and played like it, allowing Twins starter Joe Ryan to throw seven innings in which he hit 10 and only allowing three Yankees to reach base.

A depressed Johnny Brito is left alone with his thoughts after being fired in the first inning of a Yankees loss.
Charles Winzelberg / New York Po

Judge, who went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts before being replaced by Aaron Hicks midway through the eighth inning, was taken off base in a regular season game for the first time since August 29, 2022. It snapped a career-best 45-game streak, which was Longest streak by a Yankee in the past 19 seasons.

It was one of those dark nights in the Bronx that sometimes – but rarely – happens against the Twins.

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