Well, the game wasn’t tied when I tuned in, so it seemed safe for me to keep watching without jinxing it for y’all.
Now, do I really believe in jinxes? Of course not. I’m not superstitious — or even a little stitious, for that matter (this is where you imagine I embedded a Michael Scott gif) — but for me, one of the small joys that fill the space between baseball’s large joys is pretending like I’m superstitious. It’s just good clean fun, whether it’s acting like what I’m wearing affects how a ballclub performs, blaming myself for a team blowing the game because I started watching, or playfully blaming a friend or broadcaster for making a pitcher give up his first hit.
Some people really do take that last one seriously, and it brings me more than a little joy — let’s call this one a medium joy — when some jerk takes to Twitter to snipe at one of the voices of a team for “ruining” someone’s no-hitter, and is then aired out by their target for believing that words spoken out of a pitcher’s earshot can somehow magically possess him to toss someone a meatball. Some broadcasters have fun with avoiding the word “no-hitter”, and certainly the only reason they do so is just that: for fun. Others are adamantly opposed to avoiding it, considering it their duty to inform fans who may have just checked in or hadn’t been paying close attention. Dick Bremer is a card-carrying member of this no-nonsense group.
Minnesota held a 1-0 lead when I got through with my myriad tasks and errands, so no matter what happened from then on, my streak of kidding around on Twitter about being deeply apologetic for the Twins getting stomped would end at four games. It began innocently enough ten days ago when I missed the visiting Twinsie’s scoreless top of the first inning, but got there right in time to see the Rangers score the first of their 18 runs. The next day I didn’t make it to my desk chair until the top of the sixth inning, and was greeted with a dual shutout, which immediately vanished and culminated in a 4-1 loss to the other team from Texas. Those Astros were also responsible for the third game of my tie-ruining run, two days later. By the time I got done complaining about the Padres having Wednesday — of all days! — off, it was the third inning of the finale of their three-game set. Naturally the guys with orange lettering promptly scored a pair on their way to a 9-1 symphony of destruction. Most recently was two days ago, and the scenario was a familiar one. By the time I got done complaining about the Padres having my birthday — of all days! — off, it was the third inning of sixth inning of the first game of this series. Once again it was a scoreless pitchers’ duel until I showed up, and the visiting Yankees coasted to a 7-2 yawner.
If you do believe in jinxes, you’ll be glad I wasn’t able to rest from my very long and busy day today until approximately one minute after Max Kepler crossed the plate on an Ehire Adrianza double, giving me a score bug reading 1-0 to look at as soon as I turned the game on in the bottom of the sixth. As the Twins finished batting during that frame, I heard that my favorite player on the current squad, Mitch Garver, had been pulled for precautionary reasons. I was encouraged to hear that initial tests suggested he wasn’t concussed after all, but at this point I still had no idea how significant his removal from the game was.
After the game returned from the commercial break between the sixth and seventh innings, I quickly learned what additional impact Garver’s absence might have. Not only were the words plastered in pixels before my eyes, Dick Bremer wasted no time in informing me that Jake Odorizzi had a no-hitter going. Can you recall a true (non-combined) no-hitter involving more than one catcher? I’m sure it has happened, but one certainly doesn’t come to mind. I tend to think of a no-no as a joint effort between batterymates, a testament to not just the pitcher’s stuff, but his trust in his receiver and their stellar communication that day. Nevertheless, Odorizzi cruised through the top of the seventh, sending the Yankees back to the bench 1-2-3 on just seven pitches called by fill-in backstop Willians Astudillo.
Odorizzi had more breathing room when he returned to the hill for the eighth inning, thanks to a pair of two-out runs his pals scratched together for him after the stretch. Jake Cave was the first batter to get to David Robertson, and his hustle out of the box made his liner to right field good for two bases. He he promptly traveled the remaining 180 feet on a sharp single to left-center by Astudillo; Aaron Hicks put forth a magnificent effort, but was about half a cup of coffee shy on his dive. Astudillo then chugged from first to home — losing his helmet and leaving his 80-grade locks to flop in the open air in the process — on Max Kepler’s twenty-ninth double of the year. They were quick in accruing that pair of runs before Adrianza struck out, so Odorizzi wasn’t left waiting all that long.
Gary Sanchez was the first Yankee up in the eighth, and five pitches later he was the twenty-second Yankee down. Now five outs away from history, Odorizzi walked budding cult hero Luke Voit, adding to his pitch count but not spoiling his bid. Unfortunately, that would be gone before you can say ‘blueberry pie’.
The culprit was Greg Bird, and his first-pitch knock didn’t just break up the no-no, it took the shutout along with it. His double scored Voit easily, and ended Odorizzi’s pitch count at a buck-twenty, a nice 69 of which went for strikes.
From there it was fairly anticlimactic. Taylor Rogers came in and struck out wunderkind Gleyber Torres, then gave way to Trevor Hildenberger for a successful four-out save opportunity. All in all, it was a feel-good win for everyone on the hometown side; allowing one earned run on one hit over eight and a third innings is nothing to shake a stick at. There’s nothing here to be bummed about, and plenty to celebrate, for players and fans alike; chief among the ample reasons for good cheer is the once-in-a-blue-moon series victory over the infuriatingly dominant Yankees. I’m sure most of the fellas on the club had a few feel-good social sparklers, and I imagine at least a handful out of that cross-section are still turning ‘em up like there’s no tomorrow. Heck, it was such a great game that Joe Mauer might have even treated himself to a glass of the hard stuff- and of course you know I’m talking about chocolate milk.
Myself, I thought I was going to bed early after 14 hours of running myself ragged, but that bit of the game I was able to see got me pumped, so I think I’ll celebrate with the couple cold beers I have left from last night. And wouldn’t you know it... ever so appropriate to self-toast a Minnesota win... they’re Hamm’s.