Before this game started, I thought, “hey, it’s an 8:00 start time, which should mean the game will end by 11:00, I can write the recap, and get to bed by midnight.”
Then Dick Bremer predicted 17 innings of Twins baseball.
It didn’t last quite that long, but it lasted long enough. The game trudged on until about 12:30 local time, but the end result was a positive one, as the Minnesota Twins outlasted the Los Angeles Angels and went home with a 5-3 victory.
The Twins got the scoring started with three runs in the third. Logan Morrison led off the inning with a walk, Ehire Adrianza singled him to second, and Byron Buxton doubled him in, putting two men in scoring position for Joe Mauer. The Sexx Dragon pulled a base hit into right to make it 2-0 Twins, and Brian Dozier brought in Buxton with a sacrifice fly, ending a streak of four straight batters reaching.
An RBI groundout by Justin Upton later in the inning would bring the Angels within two, but the score would hold until the sixth. Andrelton Simmons tripled and scored off Kyle Gibson, who finished his night with six innings pitched, two earned runs allowed on just three hits, six strikeouts and a less-than-ideal four free passes.
Those less-than-ideal walks would haunt the Twins in the seventh. Ryan Pressly took over on the mound for Minnesota, and promptly walked Kole Calhoun on four straight pitches. A passed ball helped Calhoun advance to second, and after a two-out walk to Mike Trout, Justin Upton delivered a game-tying single. Pressly was able to punch out Albert Pujols with a pair of Angels in scoring position, but the damage was done.
Cam Bedrosian and Addison Reed traded decently effective eighth innings. In the ninth, a hit-and-run gone wrong resulted in Morrison striking out, and Eddie Rosario oversliding second base and getting hung up on his way to third. In the bottom half, Reed walked Trout with two outs, then watched him advance to third on another Upton base knock, but got Pujols to line out to center, taking this ballgame into extra frames.
The Twins went down quickly in the 10th, and then decided it was Zach Duke’s turn to induce some anxiety. Duke allowed two runners to reach, but got a pair of fly balls to finish the frame. The Angels then set down Minnesota 1-2-3 again in the 11th.
Trevor Hildenberger took over in the bottom of the 11th and proceeded to hit Zack Cozart in the thigh, and as the old baseball adage goes, “thighs will haunt.” Trout grounded into a 5-4 fielder’s choice to erase Cozart, bringing up the 2-for-4 Upton.
On an 0-1 pitch, Trout ran, Upton whiffed, and Mitch Garver couldn’t get a handle on the ball. A fly ball to right advanced Trout to third base, prompting two consecutive intentional passes to Pujols AND Andrelton Simmons, filling the bases for Jefry Marte and leaving Hildy with no room for control error.
Hildy went to a 1-0 count, then got a swinging strike, then went 2-1, then got a swinging strike, a foul, then induced a teensy dribbler back to the mound, which was fired over to Joe Mauer to end the bases-loaded threat and push the game into the 12th inning.
Eddie Rosario reached on an infield single to lead off the inning, setting up Mitch Garver for a go-ahead double that snuck inside of the third-base line and rolled all the way into the left field corner. With one out, Gregorio Petit cracked a single into center, enabling Garver to race around third and come in to score. 5-3 Twins!
Fernando Rodney came in for the save. (I know, I know. Hold onto your crooked hats.) He walked the leadoff man -- the eleventh walk for the staff on the night — which immediately brought the tying run to the plate. Then some weird nonsense happened. Kole Calhoun grounded to Mauer, who threw to second -- but lead runner Ian Kinsler, thinking Mauer would just step on first, retreated back to the bag. So now Kinsler, who was already out, is sliding into first base as the hitter, Calhoun, runs through the bag at the same time and is called safe at first. After a few moments of confusion over the legality of Kinsler returning to his base after having been retired, Calhoun was called out on a review of the play at first base anyway, so mark it down as your standard 3-6-3 double play. (Maybe put a little question mark in the margins.)
Determined to keep things interesting, Rodney walked the 12th man of the night, bringing the tying run back up to the plate in the form of Cozart. But Cozart would fly out to left, and the game would finally conclude with a Minnesota victory.
“Now don’t ever predict that again, okay?” quipped Torii Hunter.
Tomorrow it will be a must-watch battle of young starter studs, as Fernando Romero (who has yet to allow a run in the major leagues) will take on Shohei Ohtani (who has yet to do anything wrong in the major leagues.) See you then!
SP Kyle Gibson (6 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 6 K)
LF Eddie Rosario (2-for-4, BB)
C Mitch Garver (1-for-4, R, RBI, BB)
PH Gregorio Petit (1-for-1, RBI)
NO DUDS! TWINS WIN! TWINS WIN!
ROBOT ROLL CALL:
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