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Twins 6, Mariners 5: Small-ball does the trick in comeback victory

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Back-to-back homers kicked it off for the Twins, but small-ball was the way to win tonight.

Look at that wet blanket go!
Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

The Minnesota Twins came home tonight after a long road trip and drew the Seattle Mariners as opponents to start off this homestand. Although a rough-ish outing by the Twins’ starter seemed to set the tone for the game, the Bomba Squad looked to come back against the Mariners bullpen and start the series on a good note.

Martin Perez labored tonight in his start, making it three rough outings in a row for the righty lefty. He was able to face the minimum plus one batter through two innings, allowing a walk and striking out two. However, Mariners’ third inning proved to be damaging to Pérez and the Twins tonight. After drawing back-to-back groundouts, Mallex Smith and Domingo Santana were able to notch back-to-back singles and get two runners on the base for the always-dangerous Edwin Encarnacion. I say “always-dangerous” because Encarnacion took a 1-1 pitch just off the top of the fence in left field to give Seattle a 3-0 lead.

Mike Leake started for the opposition tonight and the Twins tried a few times to get into the game without any luck. However, the Bomba Squad™ was working in the bottom of the fourth to get control of the game. Eddie Rosario was able to whip a double into left field, but a Miguel Sano pop-out and a frozen Marwin Gonzalez brought two outs pretty quickly. Jonathan Schoop stepped up to the plate and took a 2-2 cutter from Leake and rope it to the fence in left-center field (a homer with a 17-degree launch angle), about a section over from where Encarnacion’s homer landed. Wet blanket extraordinaire Jason Castro took an 0-2 pitch and put a bit more angle on his homer to beyond the overhang in right field, knotting the game at three runs apiece.

Pérez continued to throw a lot of pitches in the fourth and fifth innings, allowing two singles, but striking out two batters in the top of the fourth. The “walks will haunt” phrase kinda struck in the top of the fifth as Pérez started the inning with a walk to Smith and Encarnacion with a strikeout of Santana sandwiched between the two. (Sandwiched - get it? Because of my username? HAHAHAHA! Okay, I’ll just continue writing the recap.) A single to left field by Daniel Vogelbach plated Smith, the fourth run of the Mariners’ evening. Pérez was able to strike out Kyle Seager and get Tom Murphy to line out to end the threat.

Tyler Duffey, a.k.a. “Duff Man”, was able to come into the sixth and get the game moving sending all three men he faced back to the dugout on two grounders and a strikeout. Ryne Harper, a.k.a. “Curvy Man”, was able to come into the seventh, but brought the game to a grinding halt. A single by Santana and a walk by Vogelbach allowed Seager to come to bat with two runners on the bases, and he slapped a grounder through the left side, bringing Santana in from second base, furthering Seattle’s lead to 5-3. Matt Magill (1.2 IP, 10 H, 9 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, HR, 48.60 ERA in last three appearances) was able to get back on track and toss a 1-2-3 eight inning for our local nine.

Leake kept the Twins in check after the fourth inning, facing nine batters and sending all nine down in order, with the exception of Jorge Polanco trying to stretch a single into a double. The Mariners went to their bullpen for the eighth inning with Brandon Brennan taking the mound, and the Twins took advantage: Max Kepler hit a double to right field, and Polanco traded places with him by doubling to right field as well, bringing the Twins to within one run. Nelson Cruz drew a five-pitch walk, and the Mariners brought in their version of a two-first-name/Austin-Adams pitcher in Austin Adams with no outs. Rosario flew out, and tagging up and taking third base was Polanco, proving crucial as Adams threw a wild pitch in Sano’s at bat and Polanco raced home to tie the game and bringing Cruz to second base. Marwin Gonzalez wanted in and singled through the right side of the field and brought home Cruz, and the Twins lead 6-5.

Trevor May came into the ninth inning and scared literally everyone ever by giving up back-to-back singles to start the inning. However, he shaped up and was able to get Encarnacion to strike out followed by a pop-out by Vogelbach and Seager to fly out and seal the deal for the Twins.

The Twins will take on the Mariners again tomorrow night at 7:10p Central in the second game of this three-game series. Jose Berrios will get the nod for Minnesota while Seattle will send Tommy Milone - yes, that Tommy Milone - as an opener.

Twins 6, Mariners 5
W: Magill (2-0)
L: Brennan (2-5)
S: May (1)

NOTES

  • Nelson Cruz’s home run streak ends at four. Loser. (Just kidding.)
  • Trevor May notched a save tonight, the sixth Twins reliever to do so this season.

STUDS

  • Jonathan Schoop: 1-4, R, 2 RBI, HR
  • Jason Castro: 1-3, R, RBI, HR
  • Jorge Polanco: 3-3, R, RBI
  • Marwin Gonzalez: 1-4, RBI, 3 K
  • The Law Office of Duffey, Magill, and May: 3 IP, 2 H, 2 K

duds

  • lol no duds; t W I N s

COMMENT OF THE GAME THREAD

doomsdayshark pointed out something cool about the Twins’ records against each AL division. The Twins are 13 of the way there!

SAY “HERE” WHEN YOUR NAME IS CALLED

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An awesomely active game thread tonight! Thanks to all who joined in!