The Yankees opened the second-half of the 2008 season by sweeping the Oakland A's, passing them in the Wild Card standings as a result. With their 5-1 win over the Twins this afternoon, they've swept Minnesota and passed them in the Wild Card standings as well.
Today's game was scoreless through four and a half innings and none of the five baserunners to that point got past first base. Robinson Cano became the first man to reach second in the bottom of the fifth when he and Melky Cabrera both singled with one out. Jose Molina then hit into what looked like an inning-ending double play ball to third base, but second baseman Alexi Casilla thought there already were two outs in the inning and, rather than making the pivot to double up the sluggish Molina, took Brendan Harris's throw while running across the bag and started to head into the dugout. Casilla realized his mistake when Twins starter Glen Perkins started cursing him out through clenched teeth, but it was too late; The Yankees had an extra out and they made the most of it when Justin Christian, starting against the lefty Perkins, shot a low and inside pitch down the third base line for a two-run double into the left-field coerner that plated Molina all the way from first base.
That was all Mike Mussina needed as he turned in his best start of the season by pitching eight shutout innings while striking out seven and allowing just six baserunners (all on hits). The Yankees added a three-spot against Perkins in the sixth and LaTroy Hawkins coughed one up while attempting to wrap things up in the ninth ("forcing" Joe Girardi to call in Mariano Rivera for the final out).
The Yanks have scored 6.3 runs per game since the break while allowing just two runs per game. They are now a game ahead of the Twins, four ahead of the A's, and are headed to Boston for a three-game series trailing the Red Sox for the Wild Card lead by just three games (with the division-leading Rays just another half game ahead of them).