Broadcasters, managers, journalists, and fans alike have shared the sentiment — the team has shown flashes of competence on most sides of the ball, but can’t seem to put together one solid, clean game. That was on display again this Saturday afternoon, as despite scoring early and often — as well as hanging in there late in the game — the Twin offense was once again bested by their own bullpen, and Oakland took the second game of the weekend.
It wasn’t a bad outing for Jose Berrios (5.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 K) but it still wasn’t the dominant, jump-on-my-back starting pitching performance the team has so desperately needed.
We reach our destination, though the route was a bit off. Berrios wasn’t dominant today, getting tagged early with a homer, but ultimately giving up four earned runs and striking out one shy of seven. (That’s six.)
After working out of jams in the second and third innings, Berrios allowed the A’s a breakthrough in the fourth, when leadoff man Mark Canha doubled in a pair of two-out runs. The A’s would manufacture another run after a well-timed Ramon Laureano stolen base opened the door for a rib-eye knock off the bat of Matt Olson in the fifth; shortstop Chad Pinder would rock a solo shot that tagged Berrios for his fourth and final run allowed.
Berrios didn’t deal in jams very much, stranding a leadoff double in the fourth and allowing Oakland to score in the third. There honestly weren’t too many Athletics on the bases at once during his start, with the A’s scoring twice in the first on a Matt Olson homer, and getting a Laureano single a few innings later. They’d add one on a Mark Canha circuit drive halfway through the game.
But while this was happening, the Twins were in the mix. Four total bases from Max Kepler, a Trevor Larnach solo shot, and a pair of RBI for Nelson Cruz meant the Twins had a 5-4 lead in this one by the time Berrios had exited the game.
None of this happened. Kepler didn’t reach, Larnach didn’t play, and Cruz got one driven in off a pair of hits.
It was a short-lived lead. Oakland would tie it in the seventh and push across their sixth run in the eighth, after Taylor Rogers got BABIP’d around a bit in an effort to play the fireman and prevent the game from getting out of hand. 6-5 A’s.
Just forget about all that.
Josh Donaldson — intentionally or otherwise — might have lit a fire late in the game. With the tying run already across to make it six-all, he gave us the ejection we’ve all been waiting for, complete with bat-slamming and helmet-tossing, after a questionable called strike put three outs on the board with bases full of Twinkies in the bottom half of the eighth.
Nope! It was even more depressing. Donaldson did draw a leadoff walk and moved up when Cruz slid one into left field. But Mitch Garver hit one square on the nose and straight into a line-drive-double-play, Chapman to Kemp, doubling off J.D. and erasing him from scoring position.
Then Jorge Polanco smoked one about twelve inches foul off the right-field wall, before drawing a walk to bring up Rob Refsnyder, with a chance to tie the game at four apiece.
But rather than inspire the squad to bear down and get the win, the outburst amidst a killed rally seemed to deflate the last little bit of hope out of the balloon.
I had already written the “yup, pretty much” segment of this recap when Rob Refsnyder took a hack into right-center and scored Minnesota’s second run of the game. Hope? Possibly, improbably, a lick of hope? One ounce? One fluid ounce of hope?
Enter Alex Colome.
Off the back of four straight scoreless appearances, Colome was given the nod by manager Rocco Baldelli to preserve the 6-6 tie.
Unfortunately, it went as the pessimists predicted. A leadoff walk was nearly left about without worry, as Colome battled to strike out each of his next two hitters. And then, the dagger blow — designated hitter Seth Brown took one into the plaza to stake the A’s to a two-run lead.
Not quite - enter Miguel Sano, maybe the other most frustrating member of the 2021 Twins team. Sano strode into the box with the tying run on first, two outs in the frame, and Jake Diekman (a lefty!) on the mound. Would this be the turning point? — a personal redemption for Sano and his lethargic start to the season, and a moment of exhilaration to finally get the dugout jumpin’ and the fans a-bumpin?
oh my god he did it
HE DID IT BIG MAN DID IT TWINS SCORED AND TOOK A LEAD LATE IN THE GAME FOUR RUNS IN THE EIGHTH INNING FOR A COMEBACK VICTORY THIS IS NOT A DRILL THIS IS A RED ALERT THE PARTY IS BACK ON
BOOK YOUR POSTSEASON TICKETS NOW
The Twins went down one-two-three in the ninth.
NO THEY DIDN’T BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T EVEN HAVE TO COME UP
Somewhere, Gary still has a job.
DH Nelson Cruz (2-for-3, RBI, R)
1B Miguel Sano (1-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, R)
The bullpen??? (2 IP, H, 3 K)
THERE AIN’T NO DUDS ROUND THESE PARTS
ROBOT ROLL CALL:
COMMENT OF THE GAMETHREAD:
GOEL TWINS GOEL