Yanks run scoreless streak to 26 IP behind Schmidt to cap sweep

New York becomes the first AL team to 30 wins as righty pitches career-high 8 innings

May 16th, 2024

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Yankees have become accustomed to dominating the Minnesota Twins over the past 20-plus years. But even with the bar set so high, what happened the past three days at Target Field was noteworthy.

pitched eight scoreless innings on Thursday as the Yankees completed a three-game sweep of the Twins with a 5-0 victory. It was the second straight shutout for the Yankees, who became the first American League team to 30 wins (30-15).

Going back to Tuesday’s series opener, after Minnesota’s Ryan Jeffers led off the game with a home run, the Yankees didn’t allow a run for the next 26 innings. That’s a span of 81 outs, or 378 pitches thrown by New York hurlers without a Twin crossing home plate.

Schmidt, who pitched into the eighth inning for the first time in his career, allowed just three hits and no walks while striking out eight. He earned his fifth victory of the year and is 3-0 in May. He has thrown 19 2/3 innings this month, allowing three runs (1.37 ERA) on 12 hits and two walks while striking out 21.

“I’ve learned so much on the mental side of this game, how to navigate lineups and how to manage an outing throughout the past year and a half,” Schmidt said. “So it’s been really good to see that progression and continue to put some work in.”

Catcher Austin Wells, who singled home a run in the sixth inning, has been impressed with Schmidt’s growth since becoming a full-time starter in 2023.

“Even from last year to this year, I think he’s been a lot sharper,” Wells said. “His pitches are just taking that next step all around. I think that’s just given him so many options to attack different hitters and different lineups with. I think he just has all the tools to be successful no matter who’s at the plate.”

But pitching wasn’t the only factor in this week’s sweep. The offense banged out 35 hits over the three games, with nobody hotter than Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres, who appear to be putting their early season struggles behind them.

Judge, who went 4-for-4 with four extra-base hits on Wednesday, followed that performance by smashing two more doubles. Over his past nine plate appearances, Judge has a Statcast-projected 467-foot home run, five doubles and two walks and has been retired just once -- on a ball that Twins outfielder Manny Margot caught while running into the center-field fence.

“I’ve seen him obviously do a lot of great things the last six, seven years, but the way he’s swinging the bat right now and seeing the ball,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “This trip alone, obviously he had the results and the success, but he probably had another five, six balls to the fence that were caught. But just seeing it and not missing when they do make a pitch to him.”

Torres, who hit a huge home run late in Sunday’s win at the Rays, had five hits in the series, including a pair of doubles Thursday. He has raised his batting average from .203 to .223 in a span of just 13 at-bats.

“It’s really good to see Gleyber starting to swing like we all know he’s capable of, because he all of a sudden gets it going like that, then we get that real length going in our lineup,” Boone said.

The win gives New York a 120-44 record (including playoffs) against the Twins since 2002, the best record by any team in the Majors against an opponent in its own league. But more important for this season at least, the Yankees have won or split 12 of their first 14 series. They’re doing it with timely hitting, solid fielding and the second-best ERA (2.91) in the Major Leagues.

“I think for the majority of the year this is what we’ve been doing -- pitching to good lineups and getting good results,” Wells said. “Having the confidence in the pitching staff to go out there and throw up zeros, it’s a lot of fun to be part of the team for sure.”