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Twins 7, Athletics 6: ...until the fat lady sings

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Just like the last two games; then, there was victory.

Oakland Athletics v Minnesota Twins
The shouts of a victorious right fielder.
Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

It appeared that nine walks and a dozen runners left on base would doom the Twins again.

As has been traditional this series, the Twins opened the scoring early, aided by a nice long dinger.

As has been traditional this series, the Athletics battled back in the middle and late innings.

But a ninth-inning rally culminated in the Twins’ - and Max Kepler’s - second walk-off victory of 2019, as the Target Field Troupe ended up on top by a 7-6 score.

Opening doubles by Kepler and Jorge Polanco gave the Twins a first-inning 1-0 lead; Kepler would expand that margin in the second with a three-run blast. Despite knocking A’s starter Daniel Mengden out of the game in the fourth inning, Minnesota’s runners remained left on the basepaths as the score stayed 4-nil.

The fifth inning was the initial harbinger of how this series has gone. After Josh Phegley halved the Twins’ lead with a two-run homer, the home squad added a run on an Ehire Adrianza single while loading the bases with no outs. Naturally, continuing their bases-loaded struggles (a league-worst .542 OPS), a U3-2 DP and L5 meant they did not score another run.

After Michael Pineda departed the mound, Oakland continuing chipping away against the Twins’ bullpen (again, does this sound familiar), scoring one runner inherited by Ryne Harper and another on a Trevor May wild pitch in the seventh before taking the lead in the eighth. Two old friends tied the game - Robbie Grossman walked and Chris Herrmann doubled him in on a shot that nearly cleared the wall - before pinch runner Franklin Barreto moved to third on a Jason Castro passed ball and came home on Phegley’s sacrifice fly.

Though the Twins received a jolt of life in the subsequent home half when Ramon Laureano dropped a Polanco fly ball, it was painfully squelched. Marcus Semien robbed a Nelson Cruz would-be single for one out, though Polanco advanced to third; Eddie Rosario fouled out; and Miguel Sano whiffed.

Yet the game did not end. As the Twins rallied off Liam Hendriks one night ago, so they rallied again. With one out, Luis Arraez singled and Adrianza banged a wondrous triple off the wall in right, knotting the game once more. After Castro whiffed, Kepler knocked Hendriks’ first pitch into left field, plating Adrianza and causing a rush of wind in the MSP area as fans collectively exhaled.

Salvaging the split against Oakland, the Twins will now host the New York team that happens to play in the American League. That ought to be entertaining.

YES, THERE WERE STUDS:

  • Max Kepler: 3-6, 2B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, walk-off 1B
  • Ehire Adrianza: 3-5, 3B, 2 R, 2 RBI
  • Luis Arráez: 3-5, R
  • the makers of TUMS(R)(TM)(MMM)

BUT ALSO DUDS:

  • Trevor May: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 BB, run-scoring WP, 24 strikes in 49 pitches
  • Miguel Sanó: 0-5, 2 K
  • Jason Castro: 0-3, K, PB
  • Rob Manfred: 4:02 game time

SOME OF US WATCHED ALL OF THIS:

Comment of the Game goes to everyone who sat through four hours of baseball for that joyous ending.