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Twins 1, Astros 0: Pitching wins ballgames too, apparently

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Jake Odorizzi dazzles in seven innings and the Twins need just one dinger

Houston Astros v Minnesota Twins
That’s four consecutive wins, folks.
Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

A quality of a good team is that they can win in a variety of ways. After mashing a bunch of home runs this past weekend, the Twins utilized an excellent pitching performance from Jake Odorizzi and two solid innings from the bullpen to claim a victory against the Houston Astros.

This was an old fashioned pitcher’s duel, an event that is becoming more rare in an age of home runs and the juiced baseball. Odorizzi and Justin Verlander matched zeros for much of the game, both going seven strong innings. While Odorizzi put up seven goose eggs, Verlander did have one blemish on his outing, coming in the form of an Eddie Rosario Jorge Polanco Nelson Cruz Mitch Garver Ehire Adrianza home run:

This game was really about the Twins pitching though, which started with Odorizzi’s excellent effort. The right-hander had to work out of a jam in the first inning, stranding two Astros baserunners. Josh Reddick led off the next inning with a single, but then Odorizzi started rolling. The 29-year old set down 13 straight batters, mixing and matching with his fastball as well as featuring his split finger and slider.

After an Alex Bregman walk and Michael Brantley single in the 6th inning, it looked like things might go haywire for the Twins starter. However, Odorizzi came back to strike out Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel, both heading back to the dugout after an “Odo” four-seam fastball. He worked a clean seventh inning and gave up just four hits and a walk over 86 pitches and seven scoreless innings. He also struck out seven Astros.

Taylor Rodgers entered the game in the eighth and looked sharp for the most part, hitting 96 MPH with his fastball and getting great movement on his breaking pitches. Bregman did reach second base in the inning after a walk and a wild pitch, but Rodgers froze Brantley with a fastball on the outside corner to end the inning.

Nelson Cruz pinch hit and ripped a double to left field to lead of the bottom of the eighth, but the Twins were unable to bring him in. Blake Parker came in to close the game in the ninth, allowing a leadoff single to Carlos Correa. Correa was quickly erased on the bases with well-executed a double-play ball, and Parker retired Reddick on a weak grounder to close the game.

Notes:

Odorizzi was sharp with his slider tonight, generating seven swinging strikes and six called strikes with the pitch. He threw it 27 times, and the Astros had an average exit velocity of just 81.1 MPH when putting the pitch in play.

This was the Twins first shutout since the season opener when they beat the Indians 2-0.

The Twins beat Justin Verlander for the first time since April 21st, 2017, when he was still a member of the Tigers. The winning pitcher in that game? Hector Santiago.

STUDS:

Jake Odorizzi: 7 IP, 4 H, BB, 0 ER, 7K

Twins Bullpen: 2 IP, 0 ER, 2 K

Ehire Adrianza: 1-1, HR, BB

DUDS:

NO DUDS TWINS WIN!!

ROBOT ROLL CALL: