Over David Wells’ two starts leading up to this one against the Twins, he hurled a complete game in both, allowing just two runs in each. With the Yankees taking on sub-.500 Minnesota, his chances for a third straight looked good. The squad was back to familiar ‘98 form: in the midst of a five game win streak, where they could seemingly do no wrong. As has been the case in recent decades, the Yanks would have the Twins’ number in this one.
August 11: Yankees 7, Twins 0 (box score)
Record: 86-29, .748 (17.5 game lead)
As noted, Wells was on a heater, and would ride that streak into this matchup with the Twins. Since the beginning of July, the big lefty owned a 2.44 ERA over his six starts and 44.1 innings of work. He would face off with Eric Milton, a rookie 13 years younger than him, who was maintaining a 5.11 ERA over 125 innings in 1998.
After Wells evaded any harm following a double in the first, the Yankee offense quickly got to work. After Derek Jeter reached with a one-out single, Paul O’Neill took a 2-0 pitch the other way for a no-doubter, quickly putting the Bombers up 2-0. The offense wasn’t done there, but it would be all Wells needed, as it was all about him from then on.
Wells worked a 1-2-3 second inning, needing just seven pitches, and would do the exact same thing in the third. Meanwhile, the bats kept on rolling. After Chuck Knoblauch walked, Jeter knocked him in with a double to left, and Tino Martinez would push him across with an RBI single a few batters later. They would tack on one more thanks to a Jorge Posada RBI knock, and after three the Yankees were up 5-0.
David Wells would continue to roll in this one. In the fourth, he induced a trio of ground outs, and in the fifth? You guessed it, the Twins went down in order, this time with two more worm-burners and a swinging strikeout. The lefty was rolling, and even fielding his position with ease.
In the Yankees’ half of the fifth, Jorge Posada added some insurance, as he tallied his second and third RBIs of the evening. Minnesota went to the bullpen after the fourth, but Martinez and Bernie Williams reached on a pair of hits nonetheless, and scored on Posada’s double. Headed into the sixth, the Yankees had a comfortable 7-0 lead.
In the sixth and seventh, Wells added another K in each frame, and worked around a couple of hits to keep his night spotless. Boomer kept the good times going into the eighth, where he set down Minnesota’s 7-8-9 hitters in order, his fifth frame facing the minimum.
The Yankee lineup mustered just one hit after the fifth inning, but they picked the right day to do it, as their early lead was more than enough for Wells to work with. Joe Torre sent him back out for the ninth, with a very manageable pitch count. As you might expect, he shut the Twins down in order, picking up his fourth K along the way, and securing the Yankees’ win.
This was David Wells’ sixth complete game of the ‘98 season, and his third in as many starts. He allowed just four hits along the way, and kept the Twins out of the run column. His excellent pitching netted New York their 86th win overall, and their sixth in a row. Things were firing for all cylinders for Wells and this team, an all too familiar feeling for him and the ‘98 Yanks.