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Twins 2, Royals 1: Pitching and defense

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What wins ballgames wins ballgames.

Minnesota Twins v Kansas City Royals
Ober and out.
Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images

The downside is that the Twins’ offense failed to put the game away despite multiple opportunities.

The upside is that their pitching and defense succeeded.

The offense ran and swing-and-missed themselves out of multiple scoring opportunities, including those where they did score. With two outs in the top of the third, Miguel Sanó doubled in Andrelton Simmons, but Alex Kirilloff rounded third too far and was thrown out, spoiling a potential two-men-in-scoring-position opportunity. Two innings later, Minnesota loaded the bases with no outs, but nearly lost the scoring chance altogether when Kirilloff and Sanó struck out. But Brady Singer hit Trevor Larnach in the foot, bringing home Kyle Garlick. Willians Astudillo lined out to end the inning.

It was just enough.

On the other side of the ball, Bailey Ober had a splended four innings, allowing just one run on five hits. Among the defense backing him up was a rare 3-6-4 triple play in the third. With runners on first and second moving on contact, Nicky Lopez popped up a bunt; Sanó caught it while charging in and fired to Simmons at second, who relayed the ball to Nick Gordon covering first to complete the inning.

The bullpen followed Ober with a perfect four innings of their own, each of Luke Farrell, Jorge Alcala, Tyler Duffey, and Hansel Robles retiring all three batters faced in a frame.

But when Robles was asked to open the ninth, Whit Merrifield greeted him with a double, summoning Taylor Rogers to complete the win. After Rogers struck out Carlos Santana and induced a can of corn to left from Andrew Benintendi, Rocco Baldelli intentionally walked Salvador Pérez, going against common-sense strategy by putting the winning run on base.

Rogers proceeded to throw five pitches to Kelvin Gutierrez.

Gutierrez hit the fifth on the ground to Simmons, who flipped to Gordon for the force.

Game over Ober.

Split achieved.

Twims Wim.

STUDS:

Bailey Ober: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 4 K

Luke Farrell, Jorge Alcala, Tyler Duffey, Hansel Robles, Taylor Rogers: combined 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB (the IBB to Pérez), 7 K

Nick Gordon, Jorge Polanco, Andrelton Simmons: 2 H apiece

DUDS:

Home plate umpire Jeff Nelson: for that monstrosity of a strike zone

NO OTHER DUDS TWINS WIN!

ROLL CALL:

COTG goes to everyone who contributed an Ober pun.

2-game winning streak, y’all.