The Twins were this close to winning the series against the Yankees. Instead, one of their All-Star starting pitchers was shelled to the tune of nine earned runs and they dropped yet another series to New York.
After an impressive win on Monday night, the Twins lost a crazy see-saw battle on Tuesday that they at one point led by a score 8-3 and took a one-run lead into the top of the ninth inning.
Wednesday’s game was picked up by ESPN, and with Jake Odorizzi on the mound, good feelings abounded.
In fact, things got off to a fantastic start in this one. Odorizzi set the Yankees down 1-2-3 in the first inning and Eddie Rosario parked a two-run bomba into the right-field overhang to give the Twins a 2-0 first-inning lead.
But the top of the second brought the first stage of the wheels falling off for Odorizzi. It started with Eddie Rosario seemingly nailing Edwin Encarnacion at second base as he attempted to stretch a single into a double. The Yankees challenged, and while it didn’t quite appear to be conclusive, the call was overturned. Another double, walk, triple, and sacrifice fly made it a 4-2 New York lead.
The Yankees scored two in the third and three in the fourth, and that ran their total to nine earned runs on 10 hits over four innings. Odo did strikeout seven batters, but that was really the only positive.
The offense got back to work in the bottom of the fourth with the team down by a tally of 9-3. A two-run homer from Marwin Gonzalez and a sacrifice fly from Jake Cave made it a 9-6 affair.
Then, a Nelson Cruz bomba into the Twins’ bullpen brought them to within two with four innings still to play. It felt for all the world like this was the reverse of Tuesday night’s Yankee comeback.
But instead, the Twins’ offense stagnated, and they didn’t get more than one baserunner on at a time over the rest of the game.
For his part, Devin Smeltzer was fantastic. On the day he was recalled from Triple-A Rochester, Smeltzer saved the bullpen, pitching five innings and only giving up one run on Encarnacion’s 30th home run of the season in the ninth. Smeltzer had four strikeouts against five hits and no walks.
It was a disappointing end to an equally disappointing homestand. The two-game sweep to the Mets, a four-game split with Oakland, and losing two-out-of-three to the Yankees is a 3-6 mark, and Cleveland is now within two games of first place in the A.L. Central.
- It’s hard to understate just how important it was for Smeltzer to get through five innings. The Twins were so hard-up for arms that they designated Blake Parker for assignment to free a roster spot on Wednesday, and every reliever except Trevor May and newcomer Carlos Torres pitched in Tuesday’s game.
- For the second-straight night, the Twins offense did more than enough to win but the pitching staff lost the game.
- While the latest rumors suggest that the Twins may not necessarily be ultra-aggressive at the July 31 trade deadline, the clamor for more pitching is only going to get louder after this series. It is important to remember, however that the Yankees lead the league in runs per game, so it isn’t like Twins pitchers were shelled by the Orioles or something.
- Eddie Rosario: 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI
- Nelson Cruz: 2-for-4, HR, RBI, BB
- Luis Arraez: 2-for-3, BB, 2 R
- Devin Smeltzer: 5 IP, ER, 5 H, 4 K
- Jake Odorizzi: 4 IP, 9 ER, 10 H, 2 BB, 7 K
- Jorge Polanco: 0-for-5, 2 K
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