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Twins 2, Cleveland 0: The pen is mightier

An exhilarating performance by the Twins’ relief corps leads to the team’s 90th win.

Minnesota Twins v Cleveland Indians Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

When Jake Odorizzi’s start was rained out on Friday evening, many were quick to write today off for the Minnesota Twins. After all, a bullpen full of streaky performances and question marks would be going up against one of the best pitchers in the division, Mike Clevinger.

As it turns out, the pen (which is significantly better than a lot of fans give it credit for) pitched a shutout. Nine strikeouts, just one walk, and five hits scattered throughout the course of the game was more than enough to keep Cleveland at bay, and keep Minnesota in the win column.

Devin Smeltzer started the game with three shutout innings, and Zack Littell (today’s winning pitcher) added two more. Tyler Duffey took the sixth and part of the seventh, and Sergio Romo recorded an out each in the seventh and eighth.

As per usual, Taylor Rogers was the standout. He got the last five outs on 31 pitches — four of them strikeouts — to secure the game for the Twins.

Credit where credit is due — Mike Clevinger tossed a beauty; six hits, one walk, ten strikeouts. He made one mistake pitch all day, which was — spookily — a two-run homer to Jorge Polanco, who restored his achievement from the game last night.

It wasn’t Polanco’s only major contribution; after the homer in the third, Smeltzer worked himself into a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the home half. Carlos Santana smacked an absolute laser to the left side, but Polanco was there again, laying out for an inning-ending diving catch.

Tonight, the Twins will start Lewis Thorpe for Game Two against Tyler Clippard. Can Minnesota pull off an improbable road doubleheader sweep?


The Bullpen (9 IP, 5 H, 0 R, BB, 9 K)

RF Max Kepler (2-for-4, R, 2B)

SS Jorge Polanco (1-for-4, R, 2 RBI, HR)