Talk about a roller coaster.
First, an early lead and an elated Target Field that believed for all the world that their Twins would run away with yet another home win.
Then, the Rays were within one and Eddie Rosario was pulling up lame while being thrown out between first and second base.
Things went from bad to worse when the Rays tied the game on a solo home run by Tommy Pham in the sixth inning and went ahead by a score of 4-3 on a solo shot by Willy Adames in the seventh off of Trevor May.
With the Twins down by one and Jake Odorizzi having been knocked out of the game in the sixth inning, things were looking somewhat bleak. But then, the Twins went to work in the bottom of the seventh.
First, a single to right field by Jason Castro that was deflected off Brandon Lowe at second base. Then, a routine grounder to first by Jake Cave that could have easily been a double-play. Instead, Ji-Man Choi fumbled the ball and was forced to shovel to Charlie Morton covering first base, but Morton missed the flip and both runners were safe.
After Jonathan Schoop struck out, Luis Arraez continued his unbelievable tear at the plate by slapping a 3-1 pitch into left field for a single, loading the bases. But Jorge Polanco popped out, ending his 37-game on-base streak, leaving the inning up to Nelson Cruz.
Ol’ Boomstick was up to the challenge. After falling behind 0-2, he went down and golfed a low breaking ball into left-centerfield. He was able to hit it hard enough to get it past Kevin Kiermaier, a worthy rival of Byron Buxton in terms of outfield defense, and that allowed all three runners to score. A 4-3 deficit was suddenly a 6-4 lead for the Twins.
Of course, the bullpen has been a primary culprit in the Twins’ leveling-off over the past few weeks. But this time around, Blake Parker split a pair of strikeouts with a single, and Taylor Rogers polished off the eighth inning and got through the ninth on a total of just eight pitches.
All things considered, this was an impressive all-around win for the Twins. Early reports have suggested that Rosario’s ankle sprain may leave him day-to-day, so things could have certainly been worse there, too.
- Odorizzi once again started out hot and then hit a rough patch with control. And then, a two-run homer from Kiermaier and suddenly Odo was behind the 8-ball with his pitch count. It took him 91 pitches to get through just 5 1⁄3 innings.
- Willians Astudillo played left field, right field, and then left field again. It was in his stint in right that he had a semi-no-look throw behind Austin Meadows at first base to get an out. It was awesome.
- Max Kepler is okay! It seemed a bit ominous when he didn’t enter the game after Rosario’s injury, but after an 0-for-2 from Miguel Sano and the shuffling of Astudillo, Arraez, and Cave, the Twins had a lead and Rocco Baldelli felt comfortable inserting Kepler in centerfield for defensive purposes. Kepler wore a sleeve and a protective guard of some kind on his left arm.
- Eddie Rosario: 2-for-2, R, RBI
- Luis Arraez: 2-for-3, BB, 2 R
- Nelson Cruz: 3-for-4, 2B, 3 RBI, R
- Taylor Rogers: 1 1⁄3 IP, 10 pitches, Save
- Jorge Polanco: 0-for-4, K, two popups
- Jonathan Schoop: 0-for-3, 2 K
|6||Lars in SLP||15|
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