On a gorgeous Wednesday summer afternoon, Twins and Brewers fans alike were treated to a smooth, steady, creamy little pitcher’s duel.
Joe Ryan Day lasted about five innings; he lowered his ERA back down to a sparkling 2.99, striking out three and allowing just two hits through 16 outs. The Brew Crew got just one run off him today; Jace Peterson homered to dead center in the top of the third, lofting a long fly ball just over the glove of Gilberto Celestino.
That drive would tie the game; the Twins had already opened the scoring in the second, when Celly singled in Ryan Jeffers to conclude a brief two-out rally. Milwaukee starter Aaron Ashby would then go the Joe Ryan route, electing not to allow any more runs for the remainder of his start, which lasted 4.1 innings and involved six hits and three free passes.
Midway through the contest, this one evolved into a nifty little bullpen game. The Twins used Caleb Thielbar and Griffin Jax to keep the game tied through the visiting seventh; he Brewers used Trevor Gott and veteran Brad Boxberger to accomplish the same job.
However, Boxberger would throw Milwaukee into their first jam of the day; with one out in the seventh, Max Kepler drilled his 13th double into the right-field corner — Carlos Correa, having walked onto first, trotted to third to establish a threat.
But Jose Miranda popped out into the infield, and after an intentional walk of All-Star Twin first baseman Luis Arraez, Jeffers grounded one softly up the middle. Second sacker Kolten Wong dove to the second-base bag, barely beating Arraez’s slide, and sending the ballgame to the eighth inning, still locked up in a 1-1 tie.
Jax would complete a scoreless top half, and the Twins would be faced with the formidable Devin Williams. “Formidable schmormidable,” said Alex Kirilloff, singling to right to start the inning.
“Schmormidable schmormidable,” said Devin Williams, striking out his next two men, and getting Correa to ground out.
Jhoan Duran was subbed in to do his best Devin impression, and said, “I’ll do you one better,” allowing a one-out double instead of a leadoff single. A controversial 3-2 walk made way for a clutch 3-6-3 double play, with Arraez and Correa showing off their arms on either end of the play. (Spoilers: Correa’s arm was better.)
So, in came Josh Hader, for whom even “formidable” is a bit too weak of an adjective. But the monster of a shutdown closer was greeted by a controversial 3-2 walk of his own, with Jorge Polanco discovering the absolute limit of the checked swing definition. A batter later, Kepler doinked one into right field to move the runner up.
“Who dares try and beat me?” cried Hader.
Jose Miranda — with one walk-off win already to his credit — said, “what’s up,” and launched a three-run shot to the second deck. TWINS WIN!
It’s just a two-game series, so it winds up a 1-1 split in this half of the border battle. The season series against the Chicago White Sox continues tomorrow night, at 6:40 central. Hope to see you there!
PH/RF Max Kepler (2-for-2, 2B, R)
1B/3B Jose Miranda (3-for-5, R, 3 RBI, HR)
Twins pitching (9 IP, 4 H, R, 4 BB, 7 K)
ROBOT ROLL CALL:
Per Mr. Gamble in the writer’s room, that’s four walk-off Wednesdays in a row!