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Twins 9, Royals 1: Kirilloff hits dongs, balls hit pitchers in easy win

A good day for the rookies, as Ben Rortvedt also makes his MLB debut at catchering.

Kansas City Royals v Minnesota Twins
This really had little to do with the game, but it was the best picture available at post time.
Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Rookie Alex Kirilloff had a terrific night at the plate, All-World Byron Buxton kept on Buxx-ing, and Big Mike Pineda rebounded well from a wonky outing against Pittsburgh to give Minnesota a momentous two-game win streak. Both starters sat early after getting knocked by hit baseballs, yet neither appears to be seriously harmed. (I mean, it still hurts, though.)

Inning-by-inning notes:

1: Gladden on rookie Ben Rortvedt’s catching skills, hoping he’s good at corralling wild pitches from Pineda: “Mike’s not gonna plop any balls in the dirt.” Mr. Gladden, clearly, has never seen an “active seniors” nude beach.

Buxton ends Brady Singer’s no-hitter with a single, and thieves second (ruled “safe” via umps looking at cameras). After a Nelson Cruz walk, Kirilloff almost blasts one past journeyman Royal CF Michael Taylor. No points for almost in baseball!

2: Rortvedt drops his first tricky pop foul. Doesn’t matter, as Pineda strikes the guy out anyways. Still, I consider Rortvedt a failure — not for this, but for his first name. It should be an “R” name, like Rory or Randy. I would also have accepted Mortimer.

Mortimer takes a walk to load the bases with one out (after a Jorge Polanco infield single and Andrelton Simmons BB). Singer plunks Luis Arraez. THAT’s a point.

Then, weird baseball... Josh Donaldson smashes a sinker off Singer’s leg. It flies into Royals 1B Carlos Santana’s glove, and he doubles off Rortvedt. Well, Mortimer IS from Wisconsin. (New Glarus, specifically, which Provus correctly IDs as home to a fine brewery.) Twins 1-0

3: Ha-ha. Andrew “Not An Ice Cream” Benintendi leads off with a single, then seconds off with a Pineda pickoff TOOTBLAN.

Less ha-ha. Singer had to leave the game, hopefully Donaldson didn’t break him. We all root for Twins players to break opponents’ spirits and souls, just not their bodies. (Later update: it’s a contusion, nothing’s broken.)

Singer’s replacement, Tyler Zuber, walks Buxton and Cruz to start things off. Then Kirilloff picks a good time for his first career dinglydong! Twins 4-0

4: Carlos Santana (the former Clevelander) blasts a fastball many feet. A fan throws it back on the field. (You’re not supposed to do this.) Old semi-friend Ervin (not Johan) Santana blanks the Twins, even recently unblank-able Buxton. Our own Freaky Fact Fan, Brandon, observes that this is “just the eleventh game Ervin Santana has played since starting the 2017 All-Star Game.” Twins 4-1

5: Hunter (not Brian) Dozier takes a leadoff walk, which almost becomes dangerous on a Benintendi blooper that Buxton superstarringly snags:

ANOTHER whomped pitcher! Taylor lines one off Pineda’s arm. Big Mike stays in the game, and nobody scores, but he throws 23 pitches in the inning and might be feeling sore.

Better another... ANOTHER Kirilloff dong! Twins 5-1

6: As expected, Pineda’s night is over (in pitching, at least, he might have a pizza and/or sex later). Tyler Duffy relieves. Nobody gets a hit off him or hits a ball off him.

Santana sits down all the Twins. It’d be pretty funny if he ends up being an effective innings-eating long reliever for another team, as the Twins have had problems with that lately.

7: Weird radio fact: the last Twin to hit both his first MLB homers in the same game was Pat Meares, in 1993. Interesting, but cheating with the internet. It was better when some grumpy old broadcaster just remembered that stuff between flask sips. Buxton robs Benintendi AGAIN, ha-ha. Neither offense does anything, because Santana is a swingman Demigod, now?

8: No more Santana, and moar Twins points! Max von Kepler takes a walk, and Simmons doubles him home on a hit-’n’-run. Mortivedt gets his first MLB hit and RBI on a duck fart to score Simmons. Buxton pops up with the bases loaded and nobody out (TRADE HIM!), but the Twins end up getting more points regardless. MN 9, MO 1

9: Buxton gets a victory benching. Arraez moves to the outfield, and ends the game with a Bux-lite catch. Twins wins!

Oh yeah, and Hansel Robles / Jorge Alcala were scoreless in relief. That’s nice! Twins had ten walks tonight. That’s nicer! Robot Roll Call:

COTG goes to norff for “KIRIL [ ] OFF [x]” ON” because I’ve had to fill out a lot of forms lately.

Be sure to join us tomorrow at 1:10 for Matt MakerofShoes on the mound!