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Twins 11, Rays 7: Dozier hits walk-off grand slam

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A back and forth slug-fest ended in dramatic fashion.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Minnesota Twins
DOZE BOMB
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

This game had everything. There was a balk to score a run, there was a walk to score a run. There were two bench clearing moments in the same half-inning, and there was an ejection. There were eight (8) pitching changes for the Rays. All of that, and probably other stuff I’ve forgotten about because this game was such a journey. Finally, there was a walk-off grand slam that made it all worth it for the home fans.

The Rays jumped to a lead in the 2nd inning with a bunch of singles in a row to score 3 runs. Sometimes the ball has eyes, and it really seemed that way at many points in this game.

Robbie Grossman got one of those runs back in the bottom of the inning. He hit a single after Jorge Polanco doubled to make it 3-1, Rays.

Fernando Romero was not very effective today, and was relieved in the 5th inning by Fernando Rodney. Rodney was brought in with the Twins already down 4-1 to pitch the Twins out of a threat by the Rays. This is the first time I can think of Paul Molitor using his closer in this way ever, and I strongly approve. The game was on the line at that point, so you should bring in your best reliever. The best part is that it worked, the worst part is that the rest of the bullpen had to pitch without a safety net.

To that end, Ryan Pressly pitched a 1-2-3 6th inning, and Taylor Rogers picked up the last two outs in the 7th.

In the bottom of the 7th, the Twins staged their comeback. Grossman lead off with a single, and after two ground-outs, Joe Mauer picked up a single of his own. Eddie Rosario followed with a base hit to left, beating the shift and scoring Grossman. Brian Dozier then singled, scoring Mauer and Rosario too on a throwing error on C.J. Cron. Dozier advanced to third on the play, and then he got the pitcher Adam Kolarek to balk to score the go-ahead run.

Then a bunch of crazy things started happening. The benches cleared twice, and by the end of it Eduardo Escobar was ejected. I’m still not sure what happened, but you can read more on that below.

On to the top of the 8th with the Twins ahead 5-4, and Ehire Adrianza at 3rd base. Taylor Rogers got the first two outs and then Trevor Hildenberger was tasked with getting the final 4 outs of the game. Matt Duffy got a single off a check swing, and Adeiny Hechavarria walked. Jesus Sucre, a big part of that 7th inning weirdness, blasted a 2-run double to left-center field, giving the Rays a 6-5 lead.

Once again, the Twins answered with runs of their own in the bottom half of the 8th. Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler walked, and then Grossman placed down a sac-bunt to advance the runners. The pitcher, Hunter Wood, intentionally walked Jake Cave to load the bases. Sergio Romo entered the game and got Mitch Garver to strike out, but Joe Mauer drew a walk to bring in the tying run. Eddie Rosario singled up the middle to bring home Kepler, but Jake Cave was called out at the plate for the 3rd out. The Twins challenged this call but it was confirmed after review. You can watch a replay of that here. Personally, I think he was safe.

The Rays weren’t done yet, though. Daniel Robertson started the 9th inning with a single to center, and later stole 2nd base. Two outs later, Joey Wendle singled to score Robertson, tying the game at 7.

The Twins couldn’t score in the 9th, so we headed to extras.

With Busenitz still pitching, Hechavarria walked to start the 10th, but nothing became of it.

In the bottom of the 10th, Jake Cave gave the Twins a boost with a double to right field. Garver bunted him over to 3rd, and then Mauer and Rosario were both walked intentionally to fill the bases for Brian Dozier. With a 1-1 count, Matt Andriese hung a slider over the middle of the plate and Dozier promptly blasted it deep into the left field seats for a walk-off grand slam. That gives us the final score: Twins 11, Rays 7.

The win pushes their record to 44-50 and caps off a 9-2 home stand for the Twins. That’s a nice way to go into an All Star break.

The win goes to Busenitz, and Hildenberger picks up a blown save.

Studs:

  • Brian Dozier: 2-6, HR, 5 RBI (duh)
  • Eddie Rosario: 3-5, BB, 2 RBI
  • Jorge Polanco: 1-3, 2 BB

Studs 2.0:

  • Robbie Grossman: 2-4, RBI
  • Fernando Rodney: 0.2 IP, SO, and keeping us in the game early
  • You, the fan.

ROBOT ROLL CALL:

COTG:

kenzertz: ”And we’ll see ya... after the All-Star break!”