This afternoon, conditions were considerably fairer at Citizens Bank Park than they had been during last night’s sloppy slugfest. Minnesota successfully proved their ability to turn the page from a subpar showing, evening the series at a game apiece following a 6-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Twins got their offensive output in the third inning. Byron Buxton singled, stole second, and scored on a two-out wild pitch by Jake Arrieta. (Not uncommon for Jake, who’s led the league in WP twice.) Following the errant delivery, Max Kepler and Willians Astudillo combined for back-to-back solo home runs to give the Twins a three-run lead.
After leaving the bases loaded in the fourth, Michael Pineda helped bring the Phillies back into the game by serving up a dinger to cleanup hitter Rhys Hoskins. It was Pineda’s longest start since June 30th, 2017. He struck out five hitters and gave up just four hits, resulting in two Philadelphia runs.
Philly got another one back in the home sixth. Adalberto Mejia took over on the mound after Pineda issued a leadoff single, and things started to get shaky. Bryce Harper doubled and Hoskins walked to put the Twins in a bases-loaded, nobody-out jam.
A couple of key fly balls would limit the damage. Odubel Herrera drove one home with a sac fly. The next batter flew out to center, from where Byron Buxton threw out Harper, who attempted to hop over Astudillo en route to home plate. The double play retired the side, and Minnesota retained a lead of the slimmest margin.
And then the stress began.
The talented Taylor Rogers entered in the eighth inning and recorded two brisk outs. Then a dribbling infield hit, a walk, and another scratch single suddenly filled the bases for the Phillies again. Rogers was able to induce a groundout to first — the hardest-hit ball of the half-inning — to quell the threat.
The stress of a close game was erased in the top of the ninth. With two men on, Eddie Rosario slugged a pitch off the right-field foul pole to put the Twins up by four runs. Blake Parker cleaned up the last frame, and Minnesota closed the books on a well-fought victory.
The series concludes tomorrow afternoon. With a win, Minnesota will have taken their first three matchups of the 2019 campaign!
RF Max Kepler (2-for-5, RBI, HR)
C Willians Astudillo (1-for-4, BB, HR, didn’t let Bryce Harper jump over him)
LF Eddie Rosario (1-for-1, 3 RBI, HR)
RP Blake Parker (1 IP, 0 H)
No duds! Twins win!
ROBOT ROLL CALL: