Predictably, this was yet another low-scoring affair for the Twins and the Red Sox in a cold weather environment and a shortened, seven-inning game.
Perhaps less predictably, it was due to a single rough inning from staff ace Kenta Maeda, with the Red Sox aided by some spotty fielding from rookie Alex Kirilloff, called up to be the Twins’ 27th man for the doubleheader, and an error from Maeda himself.
First, old friend Marwin Gonzalez dropped a single in front of Kirilloff, who appeared to misread a catchable ball. Then, a wild pitch advanced Gonzalez to second before a much harder-hit ball and an RBI single from Hunter Renfroe. Franchy Cordero blooped a single into left that probably should have been caught, leading to another run. Kevin Plawecki laid down a sacrifice bunt that Maeda fielded and made the aggressive decision to try and get an out at third base but he threw the ball away, leading to another Red Sox run. Christian Arroyo knocked a single into left to plate the third run of the inning for Boston.
Maeda settled down after that, lasting 4 1⁄3 innings and throwing 86 pitches before departing with a runner on second in the fifth inning and the Twins trailing 3-2. Cody Stashak got the Twins out of the jam with a pair of strikeouts.
Minnesota’s runs came in the bottom of the third inning. Ryan Jeffers led-off with a single and JT Riddle shot a single to right field in his first official at-bat as a Twin. After a Luis Arraez line-out, a wild pitch advanced the runners and Jorge Polanco bled a single up the middle to drive in two runs for the Twins.
- There was some excitement in the seventh and final inning as Brandon Waddell loaded the bases in his second inning of work, but he was able to get out of the jam without any further damage. Jake Cave led off the bottom of the frame with a walk, and after a Jeffers strikeout, Cave stole second to put the tying run in scoring position.
Miguel Sano, pinch-hitting for Riddle, laced a would-be double down the left field line but it landed just foul. He eventually struck out, and Arraez worked a 3-1 count before lining out to left field as Alex Verdugo ended things with a fantastic diving catch.
- The Twins continue to lose close games. All six of their losses have been by one or two runs. Which, of course, is better than being blown out! Better things to come, and so forth.
- We should see Josh Donaldson and Byron Buxton in Game 2, so that should be fun.
- Also, Jose Berrios will be back on the bump in Game 2.
- At some point, the Twins will start hitting. And then they’ll win a lot of games, because the pitching staff is generally quite good.
- Jorge Polanco: 1-for-3, 2 RBI
- Jake Cave: 1-for-2, BB, SB
- Cody Stashak: 2⁄3 IP, 2K with runner on 2nd base
- Max Kepler: 0-for-3, K
- Alex Kirilloff: 0-for-2, misplays in left field