MIN: Max Kepler RF, Jorge Polanco SS, Luis Arraez 2B, Josh Donaldson 3B, Nelson Cruz DH, Eddie Rosario LF, Miguel Sano 1B, Jake Cave CF, Alex Avila C, Homer Bailey P
CLE: Oscar Mercado CF, Tyler Naquin RF, Francisco Lindor SS, Jose Ramirez 3B, Franmil Reyes DH, Carlos Santana 1B, Jordan Luplow LF, Roberto Perez C, Cesar Hernandez 2B, Zach Plesac P
This was more of what I expected to see from Homer Bailey. That’s not great, but I was amazed at the season he’d been having. Every Twin pitcher had at least a run hung on him tonight, but Bailey had the worst of it, giving up five runs and getting bounced after two innings.
The Spiders torched Bailey in the bottom of the second. Jose Ramirez led it off with a solo homer, but he’ll do that to you sometimes. That’s not the end of the world. Worse things were yet to come though. Franmil Reyes, Carlos Santana, and Jordan Luplow all singled back-to-back-to-back to add another run. Roberto Perez hit into an out, but it was productive, as the sac fly moved up the runners. Cesar Hernandez did the same thing, scoring a nother run. Oscar Mercado then jacked a two-run bomb to make the tally five runs. Bailey escaped the second, but suffered an injury that stopped him from returning for the third.
Speaking of the third, Max Kepler continued his habit of feasting on Cleveland pitching and put the Twins on the board with a two-out solo bomba. Zack Littell gave the run right back in the bottom of the inning, via a Francisco Lindor double—Lindor is pesky like that—and then a single by Carlos Santana that brought Lindor in.
Three straight hits in the fourth scored another run for the Twins, the first was a double by Donaldson. Nelson Cruz moved him to third on a Texas Leaguer, and then Eddie Rosario drove him in with a single of his own.
Cleveland scored again in their half of the inning though, and this time added to their lead. A leadoff walk, a double, and two groundball outs at first resulted in two runners crossing home plate.
In the fifth, Tyler Clippard entered to face his old team, and it didn’t go well. The first batter he faced, Jose Ramirez, walked. The second batter did something worse. Franmil Reyes brought Ramirez in with him, on a two-run homer to left.
The sixth inning should-and-could have been a big one for the good guys. Eddie Rosario walked with one out, which signaled the end of Plesac’s day. Sano walked to put a second man on, and then Jake Cave doubled in Rosie. Max Kepler drew a walk after Avila struck out, but a Polanco K ended the inning with the bases juiced.
Cleveland continued to use sac flies to add to their tally in the sixth inning, as Mercado singled and Lindor hit a double to put two men in scoring position, then Ramirez brought one across on a fly to Kepler.
Eddie Rosario led off the eighth with a single. Miguel Sano followed him into the box, and turned on a fastball to drive it 401 feet and close the gap to 11-5. In the home half of the inning, both Cody Stashak and Sergio Romo were charged with a run. Stashak put Cesar Hernandez on with a walk, then Romo gave up another home run, Mercado’s second of the day.
The Twins started a rally on their 26th out. Josh Donaldson walked. Nelson Cruz wore a pitch. Eddie Rosario turned on the first pitch he saw, and hit a flyball that cleared the rightfield wall to drive in three runs. The Twins couldn’t close the gap though.
- Sano has now hit a homer in two consecutive games
- Eddie Rosario had been cold—but he raised his batting average 17 points tonight.
- Bailey’s injury ended up being shoulder inflammation that will sideline him for three months. He has been moved to the 60-day IL. Sean Poppen has been promoted to Minnesota.
- Helping our cause, Shane Bieber also ended up on the IL, he’ll likely miss about four weeks with an elbow sprain.
- If the season ended today, Chicago and Cleveland would be the two AL Wildcards.
Eddie Rosario: 3-3, 4 RBI, HR, 2 BB, 3 runs scored
Max Kepler: 2-4, HR, RBI
Alex Avila: 0-4, 3K, 4 LOB
Jorge Polanco: 1-5, 2K, 4 LOB
The entire Twins pitching staff
Tomorrow: Game two at Cleveland. First pitch is at 5:10 pm Central (Look for the recap around 9pm)