The Chicago Cubs took all of the drama out of that for us by jumping all over Reynaldo Lopez early. He’s really just a gift that keeps giving to us.
After an uneventful first inning, Kris Bryant opened the second with his fourth home run of the year. A one-out single by back-up catcher Victor Caratini was followed by another bomba—this one courtesy the bat of David Bote. Lopez went ahead and walked the bases loaded, putting Jason Kipnis, Nico Horner, and Billy Hamilton on the bags. A two-run single by Cameron Maybin ended Lopez’ night, but not his line. Just to add some insult to injury, Hamilton stole home. It wasn’t a straight steal, as the Sox tried to catch Maybin, but still, its pretty funny. Hamilton added another run in the fourth with a longball of his own. Since the White Sox pitching staff are insistent on shooting themselves in the foot, the Cubs scored two more runs in the seventh on a throwing error by Jimmy Cordero. Just to raise our heartrates, the Cubs bullpen allowed five runs in eighth, and two more in the ninth—with a runner at third—before finally putting the game to bed. The Sox limped home with the 10-8 loss.
The game you probably cared more about had much, much less offense. No one broke through against Sonny Gray for the Reds or Rich Hill for the Twins until the fifth, when Gray made a rare mistake and balked in Jake Cave—without the benefit of a hit. Cave had walked, advanced to second on a fielder’s choice grounder, and taken third on a wild pitch.
Runs were traded in the sixth. A walk to Joey Votto (the Canadian that got away) ended Hill’s night, and a double by Eugenio Suarez brought Votto around. The Twins took the run back when a Max Kepler walk (boy, bet he wishes it had been Bauer today) and a Luis Arraez single put a runner in scoring position, and Eddie Rosario Sac Fly’d Kepler home.
Keeping the game tight,
Henry Jesse Winkler doubled in the seventh, and then came in via a single by Freddy Galvis. The Twins threatened in the eighth with men on first and second and one out, but a double-play ball off the bat of Nelson Cruz erased that threat, so the game went to the ninth tied. Meat Raffle locked down the ninth and the Twins couldn’t score either. Thielbar came back for the tenth, and put out Galvis via pop-up before yielding to Sergio Romo. Romo gave up two singles, scoring the “ghost runner,” to put the Reds ahead, and issuing two walks giving the Reds the final margin of victory. Not a great outing for the bearded one, as he couldn’t find a single out. Jorge Alcala finally cleaned up the mess, after letting another of Romo’s runners score. The Twins also scored their ghost runner, but really, it doesn’t matter.
For the rest of the scoreboard watching, Cleveland beat Pittsburgh 8-6, Miami beat the Yankees 5-0, and Oakland beat Seattle 6-2. If my California math (h/t Bert) is right, that means the Twins, as a three-seed, should face the Astros, at Target Field. Perhaps Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill have some unfinished business to settle?
Everyone who commented here this season. Sincerely, thanks!
Rich Hill: 5.2 IP, 4K, 2 hits, 1 ER
Luis Arraez: 2-4
NO DUDS, GAME LOSS OR NOT, THE TWINS WIN THE DIVISION!!!
I’m not enough of a Joel to give it to myself, so come get your (imaginary) trophies, Brandon and sandwiches.