Twins 6, Rays 4: Pinto's Three-Run Homer In the Eighth Wins It

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Some players are looking better for 2014 than others. Josmil Pinto is one of them.

One of the interesting facets of the makeup of Pedro Hernandez is that he doesn't always give up a lot of hits. Unfortunately, in those games he still seems to give up too many walks. That was the case today, as Hernandez moved through the first three innings while facing just one batter over the minimum. Thanks to a walk, naturally.

The best part is that none of Hernandez's four walks came back to bite him. When Delmon Young took a walk in the fourth (yes you read that correctly), Hernandez got out of it. When Desmond Jennings came back from being down 1-2 to take a walk in the fifth, and when later in the inning Wil Myers was intentionally walked to put on a force play at every base, Hernandez got out of it yet again. By then the damage in both innings had been done.

Chris Parmelee came through with a bases loaded single in the seventh to put the Twins on the board, bringing the Twins to within a run at 3-2.

In the eighth, Jared Burton nearly let the game blow open. After getting the first out of the inning, four batters in a row reached base. That includes another walk by Young, by the way. Luckily Brian Duensing and Casey Fien were able to stop the bleeding, each coming in to get a single batter to end the inning.

Minnesota answered in the bottom half, starting with a two-out solo homer by Ryan Doumit. Following a Trevor Plouffe single and a walk from Josh Willingham, Josmil Pinto went yard to cap off a four-run frame. That moved us to our final score, since Glen Perkins was his typical unhittable self while racking up his 35th save on the season.

Bullet Point Highlights

  • The last time a Twins pitcher saved 35 games was in 2009, when Joe Nathan would go on to save a career high 47 games.
  • I was going to make a point about "the last time Delmon Young walked twice in a game", but he's already done that twice this season. Young took two non-intentional free passes on June 29 and May 11. Yes, 6 of the 18 walks that Delmon has taken this year have come in three games.
  • Trevor Plouffe was 3-for-3 with a walk this afternoon. His batting averaged jumped six points, to .251, the highest it's been since July 26. His on-base percentage and slugging percentages also took a bump up, but they've both still been higher at points earlier in September.
  • Plouffe was a really good hitter in terms of production in both May and June. Then he was a black hole in July and August. He's back on track again this month, hitting .368/.383/.509.
  • Pinto was 1-for-3 with a walk and that three-run homer. Of his 15 hits in 11 games since joining the Twins, two have been homers and five have been doubles. What I've been the most impressed with, though, apart from how well he's been striking the ball, is his walk-to-strikeout ratio. Four free passes, five strikeouts. He's unlikely to develop any sustainable power, but he's displaying some real offensive tools.
  • The Twins won today because of two home runs and some pretty good relief pitching by guys not named Jared Burton. Hitting with runners in scoring position continues to be an issue, with the Twins going just 2-for-11 in those situations today.
  • Speaking of good relief pitching, Anthony Swarzak helped pick up Hernandez after five innings by facing six batters and getting them all out.
Studs
Ryan Doumit
Josmil Pinto
Chris Parmelee
Anthony Swarzak
Casey Fien
Brian Duensing
Glen Perkins

Duds
Alex Presley (0-for-4, 2 Ks)
Darin Mastroianni (0-for-4, 2 Ks)
Pedro Hernandez
Jared Burton
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