In one of my favorite films of all-time—Signs—Merrill Hess (played by Joaquin Phoenix) has a baseball acumen that may remind you of someone:
At the end of the movie, Merrill is encouraged to “swing away” and proves to be the hero.
Though today’s game was not directed by M. Night Shyamalan, the storyline was eerily similar: derided for a strikeout-prone past, Joey Gallo swung away and was the star of the contest.
It didn’t start off as a slugfest: the Twins got their first run on a timely two-out knock from Ryan Jeffers, plating Jose Miranda in the top of the second inning.
Though answered quickly in the next half-frame via an Edward Olivares solo home run off Twins starter Joe Ryan, Jeffers again came up clutch with two outs in the 4th, driving in another run with a base hit.
It looked for all the world to be a similar small-ball scrum to match the previous two installments at Kauffman Stadium.
Then Gallo entered the chat:
- 6th inning: 431-foot solo blast that would have been bobbing in the fountains had it been a shade more towards CF
- 7th inning: 415-ft three-run job that was a towering, majestic thing of beauty
Through the Twins building the 6-1 lead with the lumber, the Joe Ryan Express was basically on cruise control (only the minor Olivares speed bump): 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 6 K, 2 BB.
After six innings of play, both squads traded offensive production the rest of the way: the Royals got a few back on a Matt Duffy dinger off Jovani Moran, but Trevor Larnach changed the Twins’ number again with a single scoring Carlos Correa. The Royals made a little noise in the ninth (see: Duds), but it wasn’t nearly enough to matter.
Your final: Twins 7, Royals 4
- M. Night Shyamalan: For writing/directing Signs, which may or may not have inspired the Joey Gallo batting approach that largely won this game.
- Almost everyone else: They swept the Royals in KC to start the season—hard to argue with that!!
- Though customary to refrain from this column in a Twins victory, I have no doubt the sequence “almost wild pitch, almost wild pitch, ringing double, RBI single” from Emilio Pagan to begin his 2023 gave fans flashbacks to last year. Shudder.