Jake Odorizzi started on the bump tonight for the Twins, and looked pretty good in the early going. Though he labored a bit in the first inning after Aaron Judge reached on catcher’s interference in the first, the Twins all-star escaped the first inning unscathed.
The Twins’ half of first inning ended after Nelson Cruz grounded into a double play, and Odorizzi wasn’t as lucky in the second. Hanging an off speed pitch to Gleyber Torres, Odorizzi watched the ball sail barely over the outstretched glove of Jake Cave and just over the left field wall in Target Field. The Yankees took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the second, when the Twins had a prime opportunity to strike back.
Eddie Rosario doubled to right to start the inning, followed by a Mitch Garver walk. Luis Arraez then chalked the bases full of Twins with a single, to be followed by slugger Miguel Sano. After a lengthy battle with Yanks starter Luis Severino, Sano popped up on a high fastball down the middle of the plate. Marwin Gonzalez was next, and swung through multiple Severino breaking balls to record the second out. Jake Cave stared down strike three as the Twins bases-loaded struggles continued.
The Bronx Bombers tacked on another in the third, mostly due to some poor defense and some bad luck. Gio Urshela hit a line drive to left field to start the inning. What should have been a single turned into a double as Jake Cave dove for the ball and came up about five feet short. After moving to third on a DJ Lemahieu grounder that would have almost certainly been a double play had he been on first, Urshela scored on a Brett Gardner bouncer that just got past the outstretched arm of Miguel Sano (.120 expected batting average).
The Twins had another good chance in the third, as Jorge Polanco singled with one out and Eddie Rosario did the same with two outs to put runners on first and second. Unfortunately, Mitch Garver swung through two Severino pitches after getting ahead 3-1 in the count and the Twins went down scoreless again.
The fourth didn’t involve much action on either side, though the Twins infield did turn a nifty double play to help Odorizzi, while Lemahieu snagged a 100.6 MPH liner off the bat of Marwin Gonzalez to take a hit away from the Twins. Odorizzi sailed through the top of the fifth before the Twins would come up with another scoring chance in the bottom of the inning.
Jake Cave led off the inning with a single, but Kepler and Polanco were unable to follow suit and were ousted by Tommy Kahnle. The Yankees elected to bring in Adam Ottavino to face Nelson Cruz, who promptly walked the Twins slugger on four pitches. They went with another bullpen move as Eddie Rosario came up to the plate with two runners on and two outs. Roasrio hit a ball off of Chad Green that looked as if it would find a hole (a .530 expected batting average), but Torres dove to stop the ball and threw Rosario out at first.
Rocco Baldelli decided to bring out all the stops in the sixth, putting Taylor Rogers into the game. The Twins relief ace set down the side in order before the hometown nine would threaten again in the sixth.
With one out, Luis Arraez smoked a ball to left field for a double to give the Twins fans something to cheer about. Miguel Sano followed by ripping a ball 107.9 MPH to right field, but Aaron Judge used his gigantic frame to reach up and catch the ball on the track. Marwin Gonzalez then flew out to deep right to conclude the inning.
The Yankees would tack on another in the seventh, as a Gleyber Torres double and a Didi Gregorious single gave the bombers a 3-0 lead. Right on cue, the Twins would have another chance in the bottom of the inning, with a C.J. Cron pinch-hit single to lead off the frame. After a Max Kepler fly out, Jorge Polanco nearly beat out an infield single, losing the race to the base by inches to the pitcher Zack Britton covering the bag. Nelson Cruz tapped out to the pitcher to end the inning.
After Sergio Romo dispatched the Yanks in the top of the eighth, the Twins were finally able to get on the board. Eddie Rosario took a 0-2 Britton pitch deep to center field to trim lead to 3-1. However, the Twins would not threaten anymore in the inning, going down in order after the bomba.
Romo would remain in the game for the ninth inning, giving up a home fun to Cameron Maybin (a skied ball right down the left field line with an expected batting average of .160). Trevor May came into the game with runners on the corners and proceed to give up a single to Didi Gregorius for his 30th RBI in his last 13 games against the Twins.
Going into the bottom of the ninth down 5-1, there was a steep mountain to climb for the Twins. They took a couple of steps up with a Marwin Gonzalez single to center and a C.J. Cron walk. After Max Kepler struck out, Polanco laced a ball up the middle, only to be snared by a diving Gregorius. Cruz watched a 99 MPH fastball from Aroldis Chapman to strike out, end the Twins season, and extend their postseason losing streak to 16 games.
As has happened many a time before, a combination of poor clutch hitting and bad luck did the Twins in. The Twins expected batting average fro the game tonight was .298 compared to the Yankees’ .205. The Twins went 1-12 with runners in scoring position while the Yankees went 3-10. And there’s your ballgame, your series and the end to one of the best Minnesota Twins seasons there has been in a long time.
Eddie Rosario: 3-4, HR, 2B
Luis Arraez: 2-4, 2B
Jake Odorizzi: 5 IP, 2 ER (should have been one), 5 K
Max Kepler: 0-4, 4 LOB
Nelson Cruz: 0-4, 5 LOB
Mitch Garver: 0-3, 2 K, 2 LOB
Miguel Sano: 0-4, 2 K, 4 LOB
ROBOT ROLL CALL:
|14||Manna from Heaven||19|
|17||less cowbell, more 'neau||14|
|29||Lars in SLP||6|
|43||The Empire Strikes Out||1|