It didn't have the makings of a Twins win. I don't care how hot Chris Parmelee has been with the bat lately, if he's batting third and playing center field it's the baseball equivalent of dropping a candle into a vat of gasoline and hoping the candle blows itself out before the basement blows up.
Naturally, the Twins won. Kyle Gibson didn't give in today, at all, pounding the Rangers with two-seam fastballs with mostly good command. Of Gibson's 95 pitches today, 59 were two-seamers. He did a nice job of dropping in a regular slider, but otherwise didn't throw any of his other offerings (four-seamer, changeup, curve) more than six times. You could tell he was feeling it and wasn't having to search for a pitch that worked. Location was everything.
Down 1-0, the Twins took the lead in the third when Eduardo Escobar doubled to lead off the inning and scored on Jorge Polanco's check-swing double that trickled over the third base bag into left. Joe Mauer singled two batters later to put the Twins up 2-1. Robinson Chirinos homered to lead off the fifth to bring it all back to zeroes, but Gibson was just one over the minimum thereafter and through the eighth inning, giving his offense more than enough time to take the lead back.
Josh Willingham singled off of Joakim Soria with one out in the ninth, and was quickly lifted for Sam Fuld. Kendrys Morales worked a 1-2 count before punching a Soria fastball the other way and down the left field line. Fuld, who would have reached third anyway, was waived around when Michael Choice didn't play the wall correctly and had to chase the ball down. Fuld scored easily, putting the Twins back on top.
Glen Perkins came on for his first game action if eight days, and looked ready to go. He was. Perkins struck out the side in ten pitches, getting all three guys on the slider. The last two hitters, Adrian Beltre and Alex Rios, were clearly cheating for a fastball, but after Beltre fouled off Perk's four-seamer for strike one it was nothing but sliders going forward. Beltre took one for strike two before missing badly on strike three, while Rios took the first slider and missed on the next two to end the game.
It's nice to see the Twins finally pull out a road victory, and it's especially great that it happened like this - on the back of a good pitching performance from a starting pitcher with enough offense to make the effort stand up.
- Both Mauer and Parmelee continued their recent hitting streaks.
- Today's save was Perkins' 20th of the season.
- Oswaldo Arcia was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, ending his four-game hitting streak.
- Eduardo Escobar's double today was just his fifth hit in his last nine games.
- The Twins had a hit-and-run going with Parmelee on first and Josh Willingham at the plate. The ball was far too outside but Hammer had to swing anyway, striking out. Parmelee was out by a country mile going to second.
- In 16 starts this season, Gibson has given up two earned runs or fewer in ten of them.
- Jorge Polanco was given a start today, and he was 1-for-2 with a double, walk, and run batted in. He'll be returned to Fort Myers tomorrow, but he was 2-for-5 with two walks and three runs batted in during his four-game stint with the big league club.
Win Expectancy Graph
Magically not losing any runs because of the outfield defensive personnel