Despite having two starters named to the All-Star Game, much has been made of the pitching rotation’s second-half swoon. Tonight, Kyle Gibson didn’t fare much better than his counterparts have been faring lately. But — as has been the case all year — when the Bomba Squad kicks into gear, the Minnesota Twins are impossible to beat.
The Twins won their 78th ballgame on the back of 11 hits, which led to 8 runs — enough to beat a Tigers lineup whose routinely abysmal offense scratched across 5 and wound up outhitting Minnesota.
The Tigers got the leadoff man on in the first eight innings tonight. This made things particularly difficult on Gibson, who was never able to get into a groove and pitched almost exclusively out of the stretch.
After 95 pitches through just under six innings of work, Gibson had allowed 10 hits and 5 runs, though he did strike out 8 without walking anyone.
Still, the momentum was squarely with Detroit for the first half of the game. Though Max Kepler led off the home first with his 35th dinger, the Tigers struck for a pair in the third and fourth innings. Daniel Lugo led off the third with a homer, and Ronny Rodriguez plated a second run with a sacrifice fly. In the fourth, Victor Reyes singled home two, making it a 4-1 Tigers lead.
The Twins had been mostly quiet against Edwin Jackson until Kepler jump-started the offense in the fifth. It was a big inning for Minnesota; Max doubled home a run to make it 4-2, and Nelson Cruz singled him home to bring the Twins within one. Shortly after, Miguel Sano smashed a three-run homer — his 26th — to put the Twins up by two. It would be Jackson’s last inning, as he was saddled with the loss this evening.
Reyes knocked home another on a play at the plate in the sixth, keeping the Kitties close. But Jake Cave knocked a two-run shot in the next half-inning, extending the lead to three runs.
The eighth started like every other inning — with a leadoff batter reaching for Detroit. After a walk and a strikeout, Sergio Romo gave way to Taylor Rogers for one of his patented multi-inning saves. “Lefty Piece” retired the side without letting either runner advance.
After writing that last sentence, I’m realizing that I haven’t used any nicknames yet in this recap, because I keep forgetting they’re on the jerseys. Whose idea was silver on white? Whose idea was all-white jerseys? Who in their right mind?
Rogers struck out Miguel Cabrera to start the ninth, retiring the only leadoff man of the night. He would go on to strike out the side in a dominant relief appearance, earning his 20th save on the year.
With the win, the Twins retain their 2.5 game lead on Cleveland, and will go for the series win tomorrow afternoon! Thanks for joining us, everyone.
CF Max Kepler (3-for-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, HR)
3B Miguel Sano (1-for-4, R, 3 RBI, HR)
LF Jake Cave (2-for-3, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, 2B, HR)
RP Taylor Rogers (1.1 IP, 3 K)
NO DUDS! TWINS WIN!
ROBOT ROLL CALL:
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