Kenta Maeda woke up this morning, read another article about teammate Randy Dobnak being the ace of the Minnesota Twins, and then decided to show everyone who is the real ace of the staff. At least that’s what I’m guessing happened.
Maeda and Milwaukee Brewers starter Corbin Burns traded goose eggs for the first four-and-half innings. Not only did they trade zeroes, they both carried no-hitters and allowed only one walk through the same amount of innings. Maeda allowed Christian Yelich to walk in the top of the first. Burns gave Nelson Cruz a free pass in the bottom of the first.
However, Maeda was the obvious winner of this pitching duel, making Brew Crew batters look like fools at the plate. Starting with a strikeout of Eric Sogard in he top of the third, the righty masterfully struck out seven more batters, setting a new team record for most strikeouts in a row. Jim Merrett struck out seven in a row for the club in 1966 and Francisco Liriano did the same in 2010. Up to this point, he notched nine strikeouts total.
Burns’ luck ran out big-time in the bottom of the fifth and the game halted to a crawl, which is a good thing because it means Twins runs! Luis Arraez hit a double to center field and he traded places with Miguel Sano when he laced a ball to left field in the next at bat. (No, this does not entitle you to two free Chick-fil-A sandwiches, Gladden.) Two outs later, Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco drew back-to-back walks - and I shall not forget to mention that Kepler stole second before Polo’s walk. With the bases full, Cruz stepped up to the plate and ended his at bat with a swing through a curveball for strike three.
Maeda continued holding Milwaukee batters to nothing through the sixth and seventh innings, earning another strikeout, now at ten total through seven. Alex Claudio pitched a clean inning of work for the Brewers in the sixth while Eric Yardley came in for the seventh and induced a pop-out off the bat of Byron Buxton, which was sandwiched by another Sano double and a walk drawn by Alex Avila.
Cue Brent Suter, who got Kepler to pop out. Jorge Polanco stepped to the plate and gave MaeKen an insurance run with an RBI single, bringing in pinch-runner Ehire Adrianza. However, minimal damage was done as Cruz grounded out.
The Twins faced Angel Perdomo for his major-league debut in the bottom of the eighth. He promptly walked Eddie Rosario and he stole second on a strikeout by Marwin Gonzalez. Rosie then was awarded third base on a balk during Arraez’s at bat, which resulted in a walk. Adrianza came up to the plate and laid down a bunt for a squeeze play, freezing the Brewers defense and reaching base safely while Rosario touched home, adding another insurance run towards Maeda’s gem of a night. A double-play ended the threat, but the score was 3-0 with the Brewers coming up in the ninth.
After an uneventful eighth, Sogard, one of the many strikeout victims tonight, took an 0-1 pitch from Maeda and blooped it into center field to end the no-hit bid. (There, I pulled the band-aid off.) Taylor Rogers came out of the bullpen and must have thought, “Let’s do the opposite of what has been happening all night.” He allowed a double to Avisail Garcia followed by a Yelich walk. A Keston Hiura bloop to center plated a run, bringing the Brew Crew to within two runs.
But wait - there’s more! Jedd Gyorko hit into a tailor-made double-play, but the Twins’ third error of the year occurred when Ildemaro Vargas couldn’t throw cleanly to first and/or Marwin Gonzalez should have catched it. It’s up to you to decide. Yelich and Garcia scored and Gyorko was credited with a fielder’s choice RBI, tying the game and securing a no-decision for Maeda. Thankfully, Rogers got back-to-back strikeouts of Ryan Braun and Manny Pina to end the threat.
Will the Bomba Squad feel like walking off the Brewers when they really didn’t need to? Do I get to put my voodoo doll of Rogers away for another day? They had to try against Devin Williams. Kepler squeezed in a walk between strikeouts by Avila and Polanco. Cruz came up to the plate, 0-3 at the time and being the opposite of clutch in those at bats. Again, not clutch as he struck out looking.
The Twins were relegated to The Manfred Way™ for the first time this season. Caleb Thielbar was called upon for the tenth with a Brewers runner on second base to start the inning. No worries, though. Thielbar made quick work, inducing a flyout, popout, and flyout.
The Bomba Squad faced closer Josh Hader for their half of the tenth. No dice. (I’m terribly upset with the game at this point. Danny Gladden is on the play-by-play now and it’s 11:05p Central, so you know this game got off the rails if you read the first few paragraphs of this and then skipped to this one.) Mitch Garver is at first base; Gonzalez got the heave-ho after arguing a called third strike in the ninth.
With David Phelps on the mound for the 11th, Adrianza hit into a fielder’s choice - Gyorko opted to nab Vargas at third - and Buxton grounded into a double play. Jorge Alcala got into a jam in the 11th and got out of it; he returned for the 12th for some more “hold on to your seat” action. Jam on, jam off, thanks to confusing baserunning decisions by the Brewers.
Phelps took the mound again in the 12th with Buxton on second. A groundout by Avila moved Buxton over to third base. This paragraph is only to note that the Brewers employed a five-man infield at this point in the contest.
After this, Kepler was hit by a pitch, giving Polanco a chance with runners on the corners. A grounder brought home Buxton and the Twins won a game that didn’t need to go this long. Take that, five-man infield!!
Twins 4, Brewers 3 (12 inn.)
W: Alcala (1-0)
L: Phelps (2-2)
The Twins will look to clinch a series win in the second game of this series tomorrow. Southpaw Brett Anderson (0-2, 4.91 ERA, 5.75 FIP) will take the bump for the Brew Crew. Tobe “TBD” Determined (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.00 FIP) will get the nod for the Twins. (It’s supposedly going to be Rich Hill.) Game time is 7:10p Central.
THIS AND THAT:
- The Twins are now the Base-Stealing Squad: they stole three bases tonight!
- JUST KIDDING! They’re the Squeeze Squad! The squeeze in the eighth was their second this season. Who knew!?
- Luis Urias was the lone Brewers batter that was not a strikeout victim of Kenta Maeda tonight.
- Only two batters came to the plate for the Twins in the bottom of the 11th.
- Congrats to Jorge Alcala for his first big-league W!
- Kenta Maeda: 8.0+ IP, H, 2 BB, 12 K
- Miguel Sano: 2-3, 2 2B, RBI, K
- Taylor Rogers: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (1 ER), BB, 2 K
- Nelson Cruz: 0-4, BB, 2 K
COMMENT OF THE GAME THREAD:
- Happy Birthday to the blog overlord, and he gives us a great reminder.
- Also shoutout to CG19 for this great comment about Astros suspensions.
SURVIVORS OF THIS ROLLER-COASTER GAME
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|23||Cheap Pohlads Bot||1|
Thank you to all who hung in there! Get some sleep!