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Twins 5, Royals 4 (10 inn.): Cruz Saves Us All

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Cruz did not want any part of the LOBster tonight.

Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

I honestly thought that this game would be a cakewalk with José Berríos on the mound, but I sure was wrong. This was a not pretty, back-and-forth game between the two teams that sat atop the AL Central at the beginning of the game, and not a game like the War of 1812.

Things got started pretty early as the Minnesota Twins saw the first two pitches from Brad Keller and did a thing with both pitches: one was a grounder to the outfield by Max Kepler and one was a pop-up by Jorge Polanco. The Kansas City Royals also saw the first two pitches from Berríos and one-upped the Twins with their action to those pitches: one was a double from Whit Merrifield, and the other was an RBI single by Adalberto Mondesi followed by a stolen base.

Each team left runners on the bases the next two innings and then traded a 1 spot in the fourth, courtesy of a C.J. Cron single for the Twins and a Chris Owings triple followed by a sacrifice fly by Hunter Dozier to give the Royals the lead back with a score of 2-1.

The Twins perked up in response and with Byron Buxton on second and Max Kepler on first after a hit-by-pitch and a walk, Nelson Cruz took a fastball on a 3-0 count to right field to bring in both runners. Twins lead 3-2.

Berríos did not have the same game that he did on Opening Day. He was pushed around a bit for seven innings: 7 H, 3 ER, 4 K. The last run he gave up was a homer to right field off the bat of Ryan O’Hearn in the bottom of the sixth inning to tie the game at three runs apiece.

The Twins decided that they were hungry and ordered some LOBster in the seventh inning. Kepler, Jorge Polanco, and Cruz, all got on base via a boink in front of the mound, a bunt, and a walk, respectively. They were the LOB of the LOBster trio as Eddie Rosario, Cron, and Marwin Gonzalez wiffed, lined out, and struck out.

In the bottom of the eighth, shades of Sweet Drew Butera showed up as Mondesi hit a deep fly ball to center field off Taylor Rogers. Showing little restraint at all, like a magnet to metal, Buxton collided with the center field wall and fell, losing track of the ball for a bit and finally getting it back in as Mondesi was rounding third on the way to an inside-the-park home run. Royals lead 4-3.

Eddie Rosario comes to the rescue in the ninth by driving in Polanco, the tying run, in from second on a line drive to center field. Alas, additional LOBster was ordered as Rosario and Gonzalez were both stranded on the bases. Rogers came in for two more outs in the bottom of the ninth before yielding two singles. Rocco Baldelli opted to go with Trevor Hildenberger, who forced the game into extra innings on a three-pitch strikeout of Billy Hamilton.

WILLIANS ASTUDILLO got things started in the tenth with a single to right field and with two outs, Polanco walked. Cruz was giving another chance after a hit ball was ruled a hit by the third-base umpire and foul by the home plate umpire with the home plate umpire overruling after a discussion. On the third pitch after that, Cruz put a single into right field, scoring Astudillo and putting the Twins on top for good. Blake Parker came into the game for the Twins and shut the door on the Royals in four batters, striking out one, and notching his first save of the season.

Twins 5, Royals 4 (10 inn.)
W: Hildenberger (1-0)
L: Boxberger (1-0)
S: Parker (1)

Notes:

  • Leaping into walls is something that Buxton has not learned his lesson about and was taken out of the game to be evaluated for back pain.
  • Rogers’ scoreless inning streak ended tonight at 28.2 innings after the inside-the-park home run.
  • THE TWINS ARE IN FIRST PLACE OF THE AL CENTRAL AGAIN!

STUDS:

  • Nelson Cruz: 2-5, 3 RBI, BB, K
  • C.J. Cron: 2-5, RBI, K
  • Trevor Hildenberger and Blake Parker: combined 1.1 IP, BB, K

DUDS:

  • I’m bucking the trend of “NO DUDS - TWINS WIN” (sorry not sorry).
  • Eddie Rosario: 1-5, R, RBI, BB, K, 7 LOBster
  • Byron Buxton: crashing into a wall you must not

ROBOT ROLL CALL: