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Twins 4, Tigers 3: Kepler in the clutch

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“Take that Gardy! I can hit lefties now!” - Max Kepler

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers
That’s a six game division lead, folks
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Twins kept their hot streak going on Monday afternoon, slipping past the Tigers with a 4-3 victory before a tough next two weeks on their schedule.

After starting his afternoon with back-to-back strikeouts, Jake OdorizzI served up a dinger to Miguel Cabrera, putting the Tigers ahead 1-0. The Twins would answer back quickly in the top of the second, scoring two runs on an Ehire Adiranza home run to one of the deepest parts of the ballpark in right center.

Things settled down for both offenses, and Jake Odorizzi worked through four innings pretty cleanly. He got some help with this sweet catch by Jake Cave:

Things started to get hairy in the fifth for Odorizzi (as they often seem to do). He gave up singles to the first three batters of the inning, the last of which knotted the score at two. After a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly, the Tigers had taken a 3-2 lead. Odorizzi managed to get out of the inning without any more damage, but the Twins would trail with four innings to go.

The Twins would make some noise with two outs in the seventh inning. After Gregory Soto retired two batters with four pitchers, Jorge Polanco laced a single to center and Nelson Cruz grounded one to the opposite field for another single to put two men on. Unfortunately, Eddie Rosario would hit a lazy fly ball to left field to end the inning.

The Twins had an even better chance in the eighth, as Lamonte Wade Jr. pinch-hit for Willians Astudillo and drew a leadoff walk. After Luis Arraez dropped a single into center field, the Twins had runners on first and second with nobody out. The LOBster affected both C.J. Cron and Jake Cave, as they each struck out on pitches out of the strike zone. Ehire Adrianza was able to reach base on an infield single to load the bases, bring Gardy out to take Buck Farmer out of the game.

The former Twins manager elected to play the matchups and bring in lefty Matt Hall to face Max Kepler. Apparently Gardy forgot to check Kepler’s number to find out that Max has actually been hitting lefties better than righties this season. The German sensation slashed a single to left field to drive in two runs and brings his RBI total against lefties up to 36, the second highest among left-handed batters behind just Cody Bellinger (37).

With a 4-3 lead, the Twins turned to Sergio Romo in the bottom of the eighth. Romo set down the side in order, giving way to Taylor Rogers for the ninth. The Twins closer did the same in the final inning of the game, giving the Twins their eighth victory in the last nine games.

NOTES:

Mitch Garver left the game in the fourth inning after taking a foul tip off of his catcher’s mask. Astudillo came into the game for Garver, but losing Garv Sauce for an extended period of time would be a huge blow for the Twins as they try to lock down the division down the stretch.

UPDATE: Garver left the game with a “sore jaw” and is considered day-to-day. This is probably good news compared to a concussion diagnosis.

The Twins now have a six game lead on the Indians, who play the White Sox later tonight.

STUDS:

Max Kepler: 2-5, 2 RBI and go-ahead single

Ehire Adrianza: 2-4, HR, 2 RBI

Luis Arraez: 3-4, 2 R

Bullpen: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 0 BB, 0 R, 4 K

DUDS:

NO DUDS, TWINS WIN!!!

ROBOT ROLL CALL:

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