Due to their AL Central residence, the Minnesota Twins often open the season—home or away—against some combination of Tigers, Guardians, Royals, or White Sox. However, when non-divisional openers are on the docket, certain squads keep popping up.
For example, the 2001-present Twins have found themselves in openers with the Baltimore Orioles five times and the Toronto Blue Jays thrice. A bit odd considering there’s no reason for those squads to be matched up so much. The Seattle Mariners—2022’s opening sparring partner—are another frequent flyer: four openers since ‘01.
Let’s look at those MIN/SEA opening tilts...
2005 (Season Opener @ Seattle)
Thanks to two mammoth Richie Sexson home runs off Brad Radke, the M’s took Game 1.
Despite losing the first battle, the Twins “won the war” by taking the next two games behind Johan Santana & Carlos Silva and hot hitting starts from Jacque Jones & Matt LeCroy.
2009 (Season Opener @ Minnesota)
In the final Metrodome baseball opener, the Twins ran into Felix Hernandez and Ken Griffey Jr.’s return to the Mariners (he homered off Francisco Liriano). Game 2, however, produced a remarkable ninth-inning comeback victory.
The rest of the series was a push: the Twins roughed up old compatriot-turned-traitor Silva but were then shutout in the finale.
2018 (Home Opener)
The most memorable moment—besides maybe a 4-2 Twins victory—was SEA starting pitcher James Paxton becoming ground zero for a bird of prey...
The Mariners then won an 11-4 laugher before the series finale was cold-ed out. I kid you not—the official cancellation reason given on Baseball Reference is “cold”. Only in these parts, folks.
2021 (Home Opener)
Just last year, fans returned to Target Field in style—a 10-2 romp. The 5-2 start to the season brought visions of an AL Central three-peat.
The next two contests? An extra-inning loss and an Alex Colome blown save—the real defining characteristics of ‘21.
As it always does, I’m sure the upcoming season-opening tilts will provide some more memorable early-season Twins/Mariners moments. I plan to be in the seats on Saturday & Sunday!