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Minnesota 5, Cleveland 3: The Twins needed this one (simulated)

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Now guaranteed to leave Cleveland in first place

MLB: Minnesota Twins-Media Day Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s lineups:

MIN: Max Kepler CF, Ehire Adrianza SS, Luis Arraez 2B, Miguel Sano 1B, Eddie Rosario LF, Josh Donaldson 3B, Nelson Cruz DH, Jake Cave RF, Alex Avila C, Kenta Maeda P

CLE: Greg Allen CF, Cesar Hernandez 2B, Jose Ramirez 3B, Francisco Lindor SS, Franmil Reyes DH, Derek Dietrich LF, Carlos Santana 1B, Jordan Luplow RF, Roberto Perez C, Aaron Civale P


Maeda vs Civale is probably the best match-up the Twins will get this series, and with a 2.5 game lead in the division entering play, that made this a bit of a must-win situation.

Maeda has been hot lately, and continued to be so tonight, although he did give up his first runs in three games. Meanwhile, Max Kepler and *checks notes* .148 hitter Alex Avila kept on showing Cleveland’s pitching who is the boss.

Kenta Maeda pitched 6.1 innings, in which he gave up two runs on three hits—one of which was a bomba.

Cleveland scored first though, in the bottom of the second, thanks to some old-school circus baseball. Derek Dietrich reached first base thanks to an error by Donaldson. He moved to second on a wild pitch, and then third on a routine 4-3 grounder. Another routine groundball, this one 6-3, gave Cleveland a temporary lead.

And I do mean temporary. One out later, Nelson Cruz opened the bottom of the inning with a single. Jake Cave quickly followed with another single, that brought weak-hitting backstop Alex Avila to the plate. He turned on the first offering from Civale, and hit a 409-footer to the opposite field to give the Twins a 3-1 lead.

Things got a little closer, via a Carlos Santana jack in the fourth, but Maeda and Civale would both on until the seventh. In the top of the seventh, Eddie Rosario drew a lead off walk. Josh Donaldson singled. Nelson Cruz took a bases loading HBP. Jake Cave hit a 1-2 fielder’s choice and Avila struck out to bring up Max Kepler with the bases loaded and two out. Kepler worked an eight-pitch full-count at bat into a two-run single.

In the bottom of the seventh, Maeda got the first out and Trevor May came on in relief. Doubles by Carlos Santana and Jordan Luplow cost May a run, and gave us the final score.

Notes

  • Apparently Danny Santana is still in baseball, and made an appearance as a pinch hitter in the ninth. Did you hear that the Twins released him?
  • This was Avila’s second bomba of the year.

STUDS:

Alex Avila: 1-3, HR, 3 RBI
Max Kepler: 1-4, 2 RBI

DUDS:

No duds, Twins win

Tomorrow: At Cleveland again. 6:15 pm First pitch

Tomorrow’s game rained out, it will be made up as a double-header Sunday, with game one starting at 12:05

Standings:
MIN 51-38 —
CLE 47-41 3 1/2
DET 45-43 5 1/2
CHW 45-43 5 1/2
KCR 32-56 18 1/2