If you like day baseball, well, this was the prototype for a sleepy spring afternoon played at a breakneck, getaway day speed.
The best part about it, of course, is that the Twins emerged victorious, getting a big blow from Miguel Sano in the middle stages of the game and holding on for the win.
The O’s started the scoring on a Trey Mancini home run with two down in the first inning. Things could have been a lot worse, as Cedric Mullins led the game off with a hit off of Michael Pineda but was erased at the hands (paws? do turtles have paws? feet?) of La Tortuga on a strikeout-’em-out-throw-’em-out double play.
That meant that Mancini’s blast was only a solo job, and after Anthony Santander doubled and was stranded on second base, the Twins were able to hold Baltimore down for much of the rest of the game.
The Twins only had two hits through five innings as the offense struggled to get going against Jorge Lopez, who came into the game with an ERA of 6.00. But Max Kepler led off the bottom of the sixth with a single. Nelson Cruz took a one-out walk and both runners advanced to second and third, respectively, on a soft groundout to first base from Alex Kirilloff.
Miguel Sano, who had started to come back down to his pre-hot-streak levels of disappointment over the past handful of games, clobbered a three-run home run to centerfield — a line drive that exited at 114 miles per hour. The Twins were up 3-2, and after six strong innings from Pineda, Rocco Baldelli handed the keys over to his bullpen.
Tyler Duffey gave up a walk but struck out two and didn’t allow a hit in the seventh. Caleb Thielbar followed with a tidy eighth. Then, Hansel Robles gave up a leadoff double in the ninth inning, because of course, it couldn’t be too easy.
But after inducing two quick outs and getting two strikes on Maikel Franco, it looked like things would be okay. Then they weren’t, as Franco laced a double to right-center and the O’s were within one and the tying run was on second base. Robles proceeded to get Stevie Wilkerson on a grounder to second base, however, and handshakes were in order for the Twins as they earned their first series sweep of the season and won consecutive series for the first time all year.
- What a game from Michael Pineda. Big Mike threw six innings in his return to the mound and gave up just three hits and one earned run. He also struck out eight batters while only walking two.
- The bullpen was fine, despite Robles’ high-wire act in the ninth inning.
- The Twins only mustered four hits in this game, but at least the lineup looked fairly normal. Josh Donaldson had the day off, but Nelson Cruz, Jorge Polanco, and Max Kepler were all in the starting lineup together for the first time in ... forever, I’m pretty sure.
- Miguel Sano: 1-for-3, 3-run HR]
- Michael Pineda: 6 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 8 K
- Twins Bullpen: 3 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 3 K
- Ah, what the heck. First sweep of the season? No duds.