This was one of those wonky games where the score could have been much different in either direction. Orioles starter Chris Tillman has struggled finding his command after missing April on the DL, and early on, he looked like a guy still in spring training. He threw 36 pitches in the first inning, and Minnesota batted around for a 3-0 lead.
But, as beezer07 noted, three runs is the absolute minimum you can score when nine men come to the plate. Miguel Sano hit a pop-up with runners on second and third; Chris Gimenez (nee Butera) popped up for the second out four batters later. (Sano had RISP four times, and was 0-4.)
Still, a three-run lead would have more than enough for Jose Berrios the way he pitched his first two games this season. It was inevitable that he came back to Planet Normal eventually, and he seemed far more human today. His fastball command (especially on the two-seamer) was way off, and Orioles hitters were sitting on his slurve. J.J. Hardy, Chris Davis, and Jonathan Schoop all soloed moonshots off the pitch.
Yet Berrios managed to keep his cool. It needed about 100 mound visits in the fourth inning, where Berrios walked the bases full before getting Schoop on an iffy check-swing call. After Schoop got his 7th-inning revenge bomb, it was time for Berrios to go, but still an acceptable line for a tough start: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K.
The Twins’ LOB adventures would continue; they had RISP in three straight innings without a hit. Tillman settled down, and got help from slick 3B Manny Machado (after getting screwed by the apparent ineptitude of LF Nick Mancini.)
Baltimore had blown opportunities of their own, including that near-miss fourth. Ryan Pressly, Taylor Rogers, and Brandon Kintzler each allowed the tying run on base, then managed to work out of it. (Kintzler, after a first-pitch leadoff single, got a GIDP and K with five more pitches.)
The best moment was Rogers facing Davis with two on and two out. Rogers threw three curves and Davis took them all for a 3-0 count. Then it was fastball, fastball, Davis watching both. 3-2. Rogers tried the curve again, landed it right down the middle, and Davis flinched. Rogers and Gimenez pumped their fists faster than the umpire.
Funniest moments? Watching Kennys Vargas run! He had a double, an infield hit Machado couldn’t quite grab, and advanced a base on one of Mancini’s several bobbles. Run, Kennys, run!
Coolest wasted moments? Watching Byron Buxton run. He had two infield hits of his own, a SB, and a wild pitch where he nearly went first-to-third. He didn’t score on any of these; he will next time.
Robot Roll Call:
|7||less cowbell, more 'neau||16|
|21||The GIF Oracle||2|