After winning four of their last five games by five or more runs, the Twins opted to get back to playing a tight, low-scoring game. They all count the same, as it turns out, and the Twins have now won 10 of their last 11 games overall.
Chris Paddack continues to get better with each start, this time scattering four hits over 5 1⁄3 innings. He left with runners on the corners, but Joe Smith came in and induced a high-hopping grounder to Jorge Polanco near the second base bag, leading to a double play, ending the sixth inning, and keeping the Twins’ one-run lead intact.
The Twins’ offense did nothing through the first three innings before a pair of singles in the fourth. In the fifth inning, Trevor Larnach pulled a one-out double into the right-field corner and came around to score quickly as Ryan Jeffers snuck a groundball single past Orioles shortstop Jorge Mateo to knock in the first run of the game.
The Orioles tied the game up quickly, scoring their only run of the game on a goofy triple. Rougned Odor ripped a line drive off the corner of the weird jut-out that was added as part of Camden Yards’ newly-renovated left field. Twins left-fielder Nick Gordon slid and nearly came up with the ball while also narrowly avoiding potential injury as Byron Buxton flew in from center. The ball clanged off the edge of the padding and bounced back towards center field, leading to a triple for Odor. He scored on a Ramon Urias sacrifice fly, but Paddack got out of the inning without any other damage.
The Twins answered right back, scoring the final run of the game in the top of the sixth. Byron Buxton led off the inning with a single to center and advanced to second base (speedily, I might add) on a Luis Arraez groundout. He scored on a Carlos Correa single, and that was all the Twins needed on this night as the bullpen went to work.
Smith’s heroics got the Twins out of the sixth, Griffin Jax pitched a clean seventh inning, impressing with a pair of strikeouts, and Emilio Pagan worked around a leadoff walk to get out of the eighth inning unscathed.
Jhoan Duran was given his first big-league save opportunity and did not disappoint. He jammed Mateo, breaking his back and coaxing a soft line-out to Arraez at first base. Then, an easy grounder to Correa off the bat of Cedric Mullins for a 6-3 putout. And finally, a strikeout of Austin Hays to end the game.
- Jose Miranda started at third base in his major-league debut. He was 0-for-4, putting bat on ball all four times but making mostly weak contact.
- Miranda was the Twins’ only hitter not to reach base. Seven had hits, and Max Kepler was 0-for-3 with a walk.
- The Twins' defense wasn’t challenged in a major way tonight, but it’s still nice to know that all the routine plays will be made by this group. It’s hard to understate how much better Polanco is at second base than he was at shortstop, and with two of the league’s best defensive players up the middle with Correa and Buxton, this defense can absolutely be relied upon by the pitching staff.
- Again, kudos to the pitching staff. Great game. The bullpen combined to allow only one baserunner (zero hits and one walk) over 3 2⁄3 innings while striking out five batters.
- Chris Paddack: 5 1⁄3 IP, ER, 4 H, 3 K, BB
- Bullpen: 3 2⁄3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 5 K, BB
- Byron Buxton: 1-for-4, R, FAST (yes he struck out three times, but his speed impacted that inning)
- Carlos Correa: 1-for-4, RBI
- Ryan Jeffers, 1-for-4, RBI
- None. Twins win! Twins win!
The Twins take on the Orioles again on Tuesday night at 6:05 p.m. CT.