Michael Pineda looks to be in fine form, as I said he needed to prove something in the game preview, I’ll say that he did so today.
Pineda’s final line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K
The Twins pitching staff is rapidly becoming the story of the month, as they have put up eye-popping numbers through a small, three-game sample. All three starters have looked reasonably sharp, and the bullpen, Colome’s mental error on Thursday aside, has done their job very very well.
Since the Twins were able to keep the Milwaukee offense in check, they fortunately didn’t need a lot of their own. Despite that, they found it. They scored their first run on some nice baseballing in the first, with Luis Arraez leading off and hitting a single. Jorge Polanco pushed Arraez into a fielder’s choice, and then Byron Buxton hit a sharp double to put two men in scoring position. A 6-3 grounder by Max Kepler scored the lead runner, but Buxton would be left stranded on third.
Milwaukee marred Pineda’s afternoon in the second by scoring their first run of the game. A Jorge Polanco error put Jackie Bradley Jr on first. Luis Urias advanced him to third on a double, and then a sac fly by Manny Pina scored the runner, for yet another unearned run against the Twins.
The Twin’s second run came in a much simpler manner. Mitch Garver just hit it out of the park in the fifth.
The other big threat from the Brewers also came in the fifth. Pineda managed to load the bases for Avisail Garcia with two outs, but struck out Garcia to end the threat with no runs scored.
The errors finally came around to the Twins’ favor in the sixth inning. A leadoff Luis Arraez walk was almost wasted on a grounder to first by Polanco, but Keston Huira’s throw to second was off-target, and both runners were called safe. They then advanced when Manny Pina was unable to block a wild pitch from reliever Drew Rasmussen, who incidentally has a very “Wisconsin” sounding name. Max Kepler punished Rasmussen for the miscue, on a two-run single to left field that blew the scoring open—but not satisfied with that, Kepler managed to steal second before Miguel Sano saw the next pitch. He would have scored from any base though—Sano went yard a few pitches later to make it 6-1. BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE! Mitch Garver kept the inning alive when a bad throw from second baseman Kolton Wong pulled Huira off the bag at first, although the play did result in a scary-looking collision, but both players appear to be okay. The inning finally ended on a flyout by Andrelton Simmons, and Cody Stashak entered in relief.
Stashak didn’t let the lead stand at five for long—the first batter, Jackie Bradley Jr, hit a home run to straightaway center. A walk kept Stashak’s nightmare going, but a couple strikeouts brought things back toward “normal.” and a quick 4-3 grounder from EXTRA LARGE PINCH HITTER Daniel Vogelbach ended the inning.
The seventh inning also got out to a hot start for the Twins. Pinch hitter Ryan Jeffers singled out of the pitcher’s spot, and Arraez visited first for the fourth time, courtesy of a free pass. Another walk loaded the bases with nobody out, but two short pop-ups in the outfield and full-count infield fly let the Brewers wiggle free with no damage.
More runs in the eigth? Okay, why not. Jake Cave lead off single, Mitch Garver walk. Two men on for Andrelton Simmons, who cleared the bases, and wound up on third—although he was intially called out, the call was corrected on review. It was scored as a double, and the runner advancing to third on the throw. Nelson Cruz got his at-bat here, and hit a very hard, deep fly to the warning track, scoring Simmons.
Byron Buxton left the game in the third inning. Jake Cave moved over to center, and Brent Rooker made his 2021 debut in left field. Fortunately, we would later find out that Buck was removed due to a “non-Covid” illness, and he shouldn’t miss significant time. No word on if his pants need drycleaning though. Kyle Garlick also entered the game in left field, in the sixth, replacing Rooker, and making his defensive debut for Minnesota.
- Dick and Justin were really, really confused by Ryan Jeffers and Mitch Garver not being double-switched in the top of the seventh
- How weird is it to see a Twins pitcher wearing #57? It’ll take me some time to get used to seeing Hansel Robles in it.
- Polanco was safe on the steal attempt, but the Twins wasted their challenge on a previous play at second that wasn’t terribly close.
- Jorge Alcala also had his 2021 debut today, and pitched the final two innings.
- Mitch Garver: 2-3, BB, HR
- Luis Arraez: 3-3, 2BB
- Michael Pineda: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K
- Twins bullpen (Stashak, Robles, Alcala): 4.0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K
NO DUDS, TWINS WIN!!!
Happy Birthday to our own TawnyFroggy!