Of course 2020 is different, and baseball is not excluded from that as no fans in the stands made for an odd home opener. However, at least from the radio broadcast, it sounds like the in-game audio was in full force and it kind of felt like a real game. Could the Minnesota Twins win against the visiting St Louis Cardinals in front of some huge cardboard faces in the stands?
The Twins had many chances to pour on runs early in the game. The bottom of the first found Josh Donaldson and Jorge Polanco hit back-to-back singles. A throwing error by Cardinals starting pitcher Carlos Martinez moved both up a base. However, a Nelson Cruz pop-up, an intentional walk to Eddie Rosario, and a groundout by Mitch Garver left the bases juiced. A collective groan filled the air from all the big heads in the stands at Target Field while flashbacks to 2019 gathered in fans’ heads at home.
Fear not, though. Minnesota’s potent lineup strung together some runs! In the bottom of the second, Byron Buxton, returning to the lineup for the first time since August, reached on a fielder’s choice to bring in Luis Arraez. Max Kepler’s single drove in Miguel Sano, Donaldson’s sac fly brought in Buxton, and a Polanco bomba scored Kepler and himself. By the end of it, the hometown nine lead 5-0.
All of a sudden in the bottom of the fourth, it started raining. Figuratively, that is. Donaldson officially joined the Bomba Squad, stroking a homer to to right field for his first long ball of the season and with the team. That bomba would be the knockout blow to Martinez’s night; he pitched 3.2 innings, allowing six earned runs on seven hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Lefty Austin Gomber came on in relief.
Homer Bailey got the nod from Rocco Baldelli tonight and did quite well compared to his start in an exhibition game against the Chicago Cubs. He faced four batters in each of the first four innings of work, even striking out three St Louis batters in the top of the third. Dexter Fowler singled in the top of the fifth, which lead to a Tyler O’Neill homer to bring the Cards within four runs. However, Bailey was able to escape from any more damage, inducing a pop out and back-to-back groundouts to finish his night. His final line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K. I’ll take it.
The remainder of the game was relatively quiet - no bullpen implosions to be found. Gomber, Giovanny Gallegos, Tyler Webb, and John Gant combined for 4.1 innings of no-hit ball, striking out three Bomba Squad members. Tyler Clippard and Cody Stashak combined for two hits and a strikeout in two innings of work.
Trevor May was brought in for the eighth frame. Tommy Edman took a 1-2 pitch deep to center field. Buxton was on his horse, leapt up to grab the ball, and caught it! But just kidding, it popped out of his glove and landed over the fence for a home run. I did not make this up. May retaliated with three straight strikeouts to get through the rest of the inning.
The bearded Sergio Romo was summoned for his first appearance out of the bullpen this season. After a lineout and a flyout, he hit O’Neill to allow a runner on base. But he closed the door to secure the first Twins save of the season after striking out Harrison Bader.
Twins 6, Cardinals 3
W: Bailey (1-0)
L: Martinez (0-1)
S: Romo (1)
These two teams meet again tomorrow night to close this quick series. It’ll be a 710p Central start with Rich Hill making his Minnesota debut. The Cardinals announced before the game that scheduled starter Miles Mikolas has elected season-ending surgery, so they will go with Daniel Ponce de Leon on the bump instead.
ODDS AND ENDS:
- Nelson Cruz went 0-4. :(
- Hitters three through five of the lineup (Cruz, Rosario, Garver): 0-11, BB, 3 K :( :( :(
- The Twins are wearing a patch for Ryan Costello, a Minnesota minor-leaguer who passed away this off season.
- Josh Donaldson: 2-3, R, 2 RBI, K, BOMBA
- Jorge Polanco: 2-4, R, 2 RBI, BOMBA
- The pitching all around!
- No duds; Twins win!
COMMENT OF THE GAME THREAD:
It was a great game thread tonight and I have to go with gonzobob pointing out some good news about a player that returned to the lineup tonight that I thought would do the opposite of what they said.
EVERYONE THAT WAS AT TARGET FIELD IN SPIRIT
So the robot is broken, but if it’s working tomorrow, I’ll get this up so we have a clear record for the future. It was an awesome and fun game thread tonight and look forward to the rest of the season with everyone!
UPDATE: Here ya go!
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