A stunningly boring game turned WICKED RAD FUN (if 2020 rules stupid) right at the end.
With a 2-1 lead in the seventh inning at Target Field, Ron Gardenhire’s newly-anointed closer Gregory Soto came in to get a save for the home team. (You read that sentence correctly.) Soto absolutely doinked up. He walked Ehire Adrianza (WHYYYYY?), wild pitched him to second, walked Josh Donaldson (makes some sense), and allowed Jorge Polanco to tie it with his fourth hit (in 4 ABs) of the day. With runners on the corners and nobody out, Soto fixer Jose Cisnero struck out Miguel Sano and Nelson Cruz. WILLIANS TORTUGA ASTUDILLO pinch-hit for Brent Rooker and didn’t strike out, but didn’t get a hit either.
But after Sergio Romo did his thing, we had extra innings, which meant Astudillo started on second. The Twins opted not to bunt him over with slugger Eddie Rosario up first, but Rosario flew out weakly to left on one pitch. Leave it to Marwin Gonzalez, who snuck one through the middle. Sure enough, Astudillo’s helmet came off and his mighty mane flapped behind him like the wings of Greek gods. The Twins were up by 1.
Trevor May came in and Detroit also didn’t use the bunt with Miguel Cabrera up. May struck him out. And the next guy. And the next. His final pitch was a 98-MPH fastball.
That’s the part of the game you’re glad if you watched/heard it. Now the earlier stuff where you didn’t miss much of anything (except Polanco’s other three hits).
Matt Wisler, who closed out Tuesday’s win, got the start and threw two effective innings. He’s John Smoltz now!
Vaunted prospect Rooker, on his first-ever MLB day, got his first hit and first RBI on a third-inning single that scored Polanco from second. Rooker would later show his rookie side, though, diving for a bloop Jonathan Schoop fly he couldn’t have caught and allowing Victor Reyes to score from first. Cabrera would then single in Schoop for the go-ahead run.
Caleb Thielbar continued his comeback season by rockily getting out of Sean Poppen‘s Rooker-assisted jam, shutting down the feebler half of Detroit’s lineup in the fourth, and shakily escaping the better half of Detroit’s lineup one inning later. Tyler Clippard’s assortment of slow stuff worked as it usually, inexplicably does.
Ookily, catcher Alex Avila left in the third with a stiff back (the same problem that made him a late scratch on Wednesday). Avila’s a solid professional who’s been doing exactly what the Twins signed him for (play defense), and it’s a good idea to always have a glove-first catcher on the roster... but, with a nagging back injury and the Twins scheduled to play five games the next four days, it might be best to put him on the IL and let Astudillo/Ryan Jeffers handle things until September 14 or Mitch Garver returns (there’s no timetable for his return). I also wouldn’t mind dropping one of the relievers to keep all three catchers for this stretch, as the Twins have days off next Wednesday and Thursday. (You also read that sentence correctly.)
Time of first game: 1:45. Time of second game: 2:57. Robot Roll Call:
COTGs go to gintzer for “I wanna Schoop, baby” in Game 1, bringing the salt and the pepa, then “Life is so much better with La Tortuga on the field” in Game 2, because it’s true. Also thanks to BH-Twins for sticking with us through the gamethread even though he’s in Helsinki or wherever.