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Twins 6, Cleveland 2: Winning by a herr

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Max Kepler beats the Bauer Outage with a little electricity.

Minnesota Twins v Cleveland Indians Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images

If you’ll recall, Max Kepler faced Trevor Bauer earlier this season, and homered off of him in three straight at-bats. One would think — based on the premise that the best hitters are successful roughly 30% of the time — that Bauer would get his revenge this evening.

Instead, Max Kepler defied statistics, led off the ballgame with a homer, and homered again in the next inning.

It’s major-league history for your prototypical German-born ballerina-offspring leadoff hitter. No other batter in the MLB annals has ever hit a home run in five consecutive at-bats off a single pitcher in a single season. And yet, tonight, Kepler did just that.

When dinger number five in a row went over the wall, it was hard even for Bauer to conceal his disbelief, as he unabashedly gaped open-mouthed into the outfield. Perhaps one day, Bauer/Kepler stories will be told in the same way we share anecdotes of Tony Gwynn/Greg Maddux matchups.

Kepler finally struck out in his third at-bat, eliciting wry grins from both opponents.

By that time, the Twins were up 3-1; Jake Cave and Jose Ramirez each had solo jacks mirroring each of Kepler’s one-man roundtrippers. The game settled down scoring-wise until pretty late. Jake Odorizzi cruised until a lengthy six inning spelled an early departure. Bauer fought his way through a typical Bauer start, striking out eleven and chucking almost 120 pitches.

Once the bullpens entered, the bats fired back up on both sides. Bobby Bradley hit a solo home run in the seventh off Tyler Duffey to make it a one-run game, but Jake Cave and Marwin Gonzalez combined for three RBI in the last two frames to keep the lead safe.

Taylor Rogers continued his dominance with a scoreless ninth, this coming right after two shutdown innings on Friday.

The Twins have locked up the weekend series and effectively put a screeching halt to Cleveland’s hot streak. Their lead in the AL Central is back up to 7.5 games. Tomorrow, we go for the sweep!

STUDS:

RP Taylor Rogers (1 IP, K)

RF/CF Max Kepler (2-for-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI)

SS Jorge Polanco (3-for-5, R)

LF/RF Jake Cave (2-for-3, R, 3 RBI)

DUDS:

NO DUDS! TWINS WIN! TWINS WIN!

ROBOT ROLL CALL: