Well, that happened. For the first time this season we've seen a Twins game end in an unconventional manner, with Glen Perkins securing his third save and the win when Mike Moustakas tripped Kurt Suzuki on a foul pop up. It was definitely an accident, and I'm not convinced that Suzuki would have been able to find the ball without Moustakas' left foot getting in the way since he was going in the wrong direction anyway, but them's the rules. Tough break for the Royals, although to be fair getting a run off Perkins with two outs would have been a big hill to climb, anyway.
Jason Vargas and Kevin Correia each went seven innings, giving Correia his first quality start of the spring. He did come out for the eighth and pitched to three batters, but a walk, single, and throwing error by Trevor Plouffe helped put the Royals on the board. Nori Aoki brought in another run off of a sac bunt and Eric Hosmer doubled over Aaron Hicks' head in center for the third run of the inning, giving the Royals the lead.
Correia had been remarkably efficient up to that point, with just one inning seeing him throw more than 12 pitches. The second, sixth, and seventh innings all saw him throw fewer than ten pitches each. Until the eighth, it really seemed like Kansas City just couldn't pick him up.
Nobody scored until the bottom of the seventh, when Josmil Pinto took Vargas deep to left field for a two-run homer. The next inning, following the Royals' three-run top of the eighth, Aaron Crow and Wade Davis gave the game back to Minnesota. Crow couldn't find the strike zone with much of anything, walking Pedro Florimon (who then stole second) and Brian Dozier before getting pulled. Davis took over and walked Plouffe two batters later, loading the bases for Chris Herrmann. And this is the play that made the afternoon.
Herrmann got just enough of a Davis breaking ball to chop it weakly to the third base side of the mound. With runners on the move, maybe Davis felt pressure to get the ball home quickly or maybe he just didn't get himself set, but he tried to flip the ball to Salvador Perez at home and it just didn't work out. The ball skipped away from Perez who gave chase and flipped the ball back to Davis. Davis, meanwhile, looked like he still thought he could get a force out and did his best to step on home before Dozier but, naturally, that made no difference. It was a two-run mistake, and Perkins locked it up just minutes later.
With their first sweep of the season, the Twins improve to 6-6. Heroes at this early juncture have been all of the guys the team needs in order to have a chance to win games: everyone. Pinto came through today, a trio of guys were patient enough to coax out walks late in the game when the pressure was on, and the pitching was good enough to get the job done.
I have to say it: so far, it's been fun watching Twins games this year. Tell your friends.
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