Injuries and underperformance have combined for a dreadful week against the bottom-dwelling Rangers and league-leading Astros. The pitching has (mostly) been great, but of course, when that finally happens, the lineup goes ice cold. The Twins couldn’t hit a beach ball into the ocean if they were standing on the shore right now. [Granted, they’ve faced two very good pitchers the past two days]
A 9th inning rally by the Twins made this one look closer than it was, but once again, it was too little, too late. They’ve made a habit of this lately: rallies that are too little, too late. Unfortunately, they only managed two hits and one run prior to the ninth.
The Astros went ahead on the first pitch of the game tonight, as Dylan Bundy served up a high fastball to Jose Altuve, who promptly sent it soaring over the Crawford Boxes in left field. Bundy would settle down and turn in a solid outing, going 5.0 innings and only giving up 2 earned runs. The other run came in the 3rd inning, when two hits and a sac fly ended with the Astros leading 2-1.
The Twins had scored their first run in the top of the 3rd on a walk by Twins Legend Sandy Leon, a double by Jorge Polanco, and a sac fly by Carlos Correa. Unfortunately, only two of the next nineteen Twins batters to step up to the plate would reach base.
The Astros tacked on their insurance in the 6th, which they actually ended up needing. A double, wild pitch, and sac fly got them one run, and then a double and Trey Mancini home run capped it off. Not Michael Fulmer’s best outing.
Devin Smeltzer pitched a very quiet two innings to finish the game for the Twins, giving them a chance to wake up and pull off a miracle comeback in the 9th. Gio Urshela and Luis Arraez were on board with this plan, leading off with a single and RBI double. Arraez reached third on a fielding error on the play, and the Twins officially had a chance. Nick Gordon, pinch-hitting, drew a walk. With the Twins down three runs, they had runners on the corners and no outs. Jake Cave, pinch-hitting(!), reached on a fielder’s choice where Jose Altuve made a debatable choice to not go for the easy out, but the run scored anyway. 5-3, winning run at the plate, no outs. Unfortunately, Max Kepler and Gary Sanchez were due up, and their incompetence combined with a classic Nick Gordon TOOTBLAN to bring the game to an end.
Devin Smeltzer: 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 2 BB, 1 K
Literally everyone else.
Joel finally did it.