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Twins 4, Mariners 0: No home runs needed

The Twins used a different approach to earn a series split with the Mariners

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Minnesota Twins
Dylan Bundy has yet to allow a run as a member of the Minnesota Twins.
Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

After three games, every single Twins run was scored via the long ball.

On Monday night, the Twins didn’t hit a single home run and scored three of their runs by bunching together four hits over five at-bats in the bottom of the fifth, with three of them coming on three consecutive pitches from Mariners relief pitcher Anthony Misiewcz.

But first, let’s talk about Dylan Bundy.

Part of me felt like I was watching Twins pitchers of yesteryear, and by that, I mean like a decade ago. There was something Kevin Slowey-esque about a steady diet of four-seam fastballs hovering around 90 miles per hour, offset by an effective changeup. And I’ll be darned, it worked just fine. Bundy gave up just a single hit and one walk while throwing 67 pitches over five shutout innings. And, in true Twins-of-yesteryear fashion, he only struck out two opposing batters.

Offensively, the Twins scored in the bottom of the first on a Byron Buxton leadoff walk (the first of many this season, no doubt), followed by a Luis Arraez single and a Jorge Polanco double.

In the second inning, Miguel Sano walked. With two outs, Buxton drove a double to the gap in left-center, and Sano was gunned down rather easily at home plate. (Note to Tommy Watkins: as much as we appreciate trying to get Buck an RBI in the early stages of the MVP campaign ... cool it over there in the third-base coach’s box, please.)

The Twins were quiet over the next couple of innings until Alex Kirilloff led off the bottom of the fifth with a solid single to the opposite field — his first base hit of the young season.

Then, Buxton doubled again, because he doesn’t make outs Kirilloff was wisely held at third base. For the moment, that is. Carlos Correa shot a grounder to shortstop, and with the contact play on, Kirilloff was cut down at the plate.

After Seattle brought in the lefty Misiewcz, Arraez sprayed a single to left for an RBI. Then, on the next pitch, Polanco grounded a single up the middle to score another run. Finally, Gio Urshela hammered the next pitch up the middle for an RBI single of his own, and the Twins went up by a score of 4-0.

Bundy came out of the game, and Caleb Thielbar, Tyler Duffey, Joe Smith, and Jhoan Duran pitched an inning apiece, allowing just one hit and two walks over the final four innings.

Notes

  • Buxton. Again.
  • Great to see Kirilloff get his first knock of the season. Now, we’re just waiting on Miguel Sano...
  • Slotting Luis Arraez in amongst Buxton, Correa, and Polanco against right-handed pitchers is a fun twist. Count me in on seeing more of that moving forward.
  • The bullpen has been impressive so far this season, Tyler Duffey’s Saturday meltdown notwithstanding. Nice to see him bounce back so nicely in this one.
  • Fun with small sample-size numbers: the Twins’ top three in on-base-plus-slugging through four games are Byron Buxton (1.479), Luis Arraez (1.445), and Gio Urshela (1.122).

Studs

  • Byron Buxton: 2-for-3, 2 2B, BB, 2 R, SB
  • Luis Arraez: 3-for-4, RBI, R
  • Jorge Polanco: 2-for-3, 2 RBI, BB
  • Dylan Bundy: 5 IP, H, BB, 2 K
  • Twins Bullpen: 4 IP, H, 2 BB, 3 K

Duds

  • None. Don’t have the heart on a day like today.

Next up: Twins vs. Dodgers on Tuesday evening.