And just like that, all seems right in the world.
Yes, the Twins lost four in a row and five of six. But they also just won a three-game series in Milwaukee with a +10 run differential, expanded their division lead to 1.5 games, and were able to salvage a 3-5 field trip. Now, they’re headed back to Target Field, where they’re 7-1 so far this season, for a seven-game homestand against Kansas City and Milwaukee.
Kenta Maeda was fantastic, setting down the first 10 batters he faced. He didn’t allow a second hit until there were two outs in the sixth inning, when the score was already 12-0.
After having thrown just 50 pitches through five innings, Maeda kept his pitch count low enough despite scattering hits in the middle innings that he was allowed to pitch into the seventh inning, departing with a 12-2 score and two runners on base. Caleb Thielbar struck out Brock Holt to strand the inherited runners.
As for the offense, you may be surprised to learn that only three of the 12 runs were driven by the long ball: two solo home runs by Byron Buxton and one prodigious moonshot by Miguel Sano.
Sano’s homer was so well-pulverized that Twins’ MLB.com writer Do-Hyoung Park wrote a piece during the game with the headline: “Sano HR vanishes: ‘I didn’t see it land’”. That’s how you know you got ahold of one.
The early scoring was keyed by a one-out walk to Miguel Sano in the second inning. Then, Jake Cave hit a ball to the edge of the warning track in left field that Christian Yelich appeared to lose in the sun, although it would have been a good catch even if he’d made it. Sano scored all the way from first, and the Twins were on the board.
Then, with two outs, the Twins did what they haven’t been doing much lately: strung a bunch of hits together. Luis Arraez, hitting in the nine-spot, poked a solid single to left. Then, Mitch Garver (!) hit a sinking line drive that Avisail Garcia couldn’t handle in center. Then, solid singles from Jorge Polanco and Nelson Cruz before a wild pitch gave the Twins a 5-0 lead.
Sano’s moonshot made it 6-0 after three, and then an Eddie Rosario single followed by a Marwin Gonzalez double made it 7-0 in the fourth inning.
In the top of the fifth, the Twins broke things open even more. A solo shot from Buxton extended the lead, and then Arraez and Garver singled, Polanco, Cruz, and Rosario walked consecutively, and Gonzalez hit a sacrifice fly, pushing the lead to 11-0. Buxton homered to lead off the sixth inning to cap the scoring for the Twins.
There was a bit of brief excitement in the top of the ninth when position player/Wednesday night’s villain Jedd Gyorko took the mound. Mitch Garver stroked a leadoff single that he totally could have turned into a double, but then Ehire Adrianza and Rosario sandwiched a pair of infield pop-ups around a scalding line-drive out by pinch-hitter Alex Avila, and the Twins failed to pile on against a position player pitching.
- Good to see Lewis Thorpe pitch a pair of scoreless innings to finish the game after consecutive rough outings, including three runs given up in Kansas City without recording an out.
- Garver was 3-for-6, boosting his triple-slash line to .167/.280/.238 on the season. Big day.
- Byron Buxton was hitting over .300 before grounding out in his last at-bat, a fact that play-by-play man Dick Bremer was over the moon about. Of course, the five home runs in 47 at-bats and .638 slugging percentage is nice, too, but whatevs.
- Maeda continues to be everything the Twins expected him to be when they paid a hefty price for him this offseason. Great work, Falvine.
- Kenta Maeda: 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 5 K, BB
- Byron Buxton: 3-for-5, 2 HR
- Miguel Sano: 1-for-3, HR, 2 BB, 2 R
- Mitch Garver: 3-for-6, 2 R
- I know we like to say “no duds because the Twins won”, but there were really, truly, legitimately no duds for the good guys in this one.
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