The Minnesota Twins turned in a surprisingly competent performance on Wednesday night, scoring in the top of the first inning and leading comfortably from wire to wire.
Bailey Ober is quickly becoming one of the top handful of bright spots on the team this season, turning in the best pitching performance of his young career while Nelson Cruz punished his former team with one deadly swing of the bat.
The Twins scored early after a Jorge Polanco leadoff double and singles from Josh Donaldson, Alex Kirilloff, and Ryan Jeffers plated two runs. Donaldson was removed from the game an inning later, however, apparently after reinjuring his troublesome calf muscle while running the bases.
Ober turned in a perfect three innings, striking out four Mariners while allowing zero baserunners. The Twins ordered another run in the top of the third. Polanco singled, followed by Willians Astudillo’s first walk of the season and a steal of third by Polanco. He scored on a groundout from Kirilloff.
Ober gave up a leadoff single in the fourth but struck out Jake Fraley and then ended the inning on a strike-’em-out, throw-’em-out double-play.
In the top of the fifth, Polanco doubled (again), Astudillo walked (again!), and Nelson Cruz crushed a first-pitch fastball into left field to give the Twins a 6-0 lead. Two batters later, Ryan Jeffers hit a laser that landed about five seats to the right of where Cruz’s homer landed and the score was 7-0.
That was it for Ober, however, because Rocco Baldelli hates fun, not to mention the pitcher win statistic. Okay, it was more likely due to matchups, but even though three of the next four batters were lefties, they were hitless against the Twins rookie to that point. Not to mention that Ober had only thrown 63 pitches; he threw 73 last Friday against Houston.
At any rate, Caleb Thielbar gave up a run on two hits in the fifth but was able to come back out and strike out the side in the sixth, giving Baldelli a much-needed effective two innings of relief.
The Mariners scored one more on a single, groundout, wild pitch, and sacrifice fly off of Alex Colome in the seventh. Taylor Rogers pitched a spotless eighth inning while Jorge Alcala did the same in the ninth, and the Twins emerged with a 7-2 victory and avoided a sweep in the process.
- Donaldson left in the second inning due to a calf injury. Andrelton Simmons left in the third due to an ankle problem. The hits, they keep coming.
- Jeffers continues to crush left-handed pitching and looks like a completely different player since being recalled from St. Paul.
- The top seven spots in the lineup all had at least one hit. Gilberto Celestino went 0-for-3 with a walk in the No. 9 spot while Simmons and Trevor Larnach combined to go hitless in the eighth slot in the order.
- Jorge Polanco: 3-for-5, 2 2B, 3 R
- Nelson Cruz: 1-for-5, HR, 3 RBI
- Ryan Jeffers: 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI
- Bailey Ober: 4 IP, 0 ER, H, 0 BB, 6 K
- None — Twins win, Twins win!