In many ways, this game was right in line with the Minnesota Twins squad that spent the first several weeks of the season digging themselves into an inescapable hole.
Early on, the Twins forced the opposing pitcher to work. They scored one run in the first while running up the pitch count but should have scored at least two or three. It was an okay start, but it should have been so, so much better.
Jose Berrios was inefficient but pitched well enough to win, but while the Twins’ offense squandered multiple early-game opportunities and went dormant during the middle stages of the contest, the bullpen was preparing to kick the game away.
The bottom of the first inning featured a single, a walk, a wild pitch, a balk, and 31 pitches, and the Twins only managed to score one run.
Berrios was a bit wild in the top of the second and allowed Cleveland to get a run of their own. Then, in the bottom of the frame, the Twins got another single, a walk, and a balk but could not score. And that was the last time that the home team had multiple baserunners.
Over the course of the next seven innings, the Twins scattered a pair of singles from Josh Donaldson and a single and a double from Jorge Polanco, but that was it.
In the top of the eighth, Jorge Alcala back-to-back singles before Amed Rosario chopped the ball to first base. Alex Kirilloff made a great play, whipping the ball to second base for an out while Alcala covered first to take the return throw from Andrelton Simmons in time to get what appeared to be the second out of a twin-killing. Upon review, however, Rosario beat out the relay throw and instead of two outs with a runner on third, Cleveland had just one out with runners on the corners.
Rocco Baldelli made the choice to intentionally walk Jose Ramirez without a base open and bring in Taylor Rogers to face left-handed-hitting Old Friend Eddie Rosario. Predictably, Eddie swung at the first-pitch offering from his long-time teammate and stroked it into centerfield, demonstrably flipping his bat and glaring into the Twins dugout.
Rosario plated two runs with his single, and Cleveland scored again on a groundout to push the lead to 4-1.
The Twins went down in order in the bottom of the frame and only mustered a two-out double from Polanco in the bottom of the ninth.
- Nelson Cruz’s nine-game hitting streak and 17-game on-base streak both came to an end in this one. After a first-inning flyout on the fifth pitch of the at-bat, Cruz swung on the first pitch in each of his final three plate appearances.
- While Berrios wasn’t quite dominant, it wouldn’t be fair to say that he wasn’t sharp, either. Nine strikeouts, two walks, and scattering four hits in 6 1⁄3 innings is a fine performance.
- One of the lowkey more disappointing things about this season has been Jorge Alcala’s issues when inserted into higher-leverage situations. The Twins struggled mightily early in the campaign when the veteran arms (Alex Colome, Hansel Robles, Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey) struggled late in games, and it seemed like the young arms, led by Alcala, would be poised to take over. That hasn’t exactly been the case.
- Jose Berrios: 6 1⁄3 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 9 K
- Josh Donaldson: 2-for-4
- Jorge Polanco: 2-for-4, 2B
- Jorge Alcala/Taylor Rogers: Combined 1 IP, 3 ER, 4 H, BB
- Trevor Larnach/Nelson Cruz/Max Kepler (Twins’ 3-4-5 batters): Combined 0-for-11, 3 K, BB