It has become an expectation of the members of the 2023 Minnesota Twins rotation to quell opposing bats, giving a thus-far quiet Twins offense the chance to pull together enough runs to win.
The offense met their expectation. The starting pitching, far from it, Kenta Maeda allowing 10 runs in three-plus innings as New York cruised to a 12-6 win, keeping the Twins from the pleasure of a series sweep over the Yankees.
Trouble began in the second inning, as unfortunate attempts at defense led to New York’s first run and nearly cut Maeda’s day shorter:
- Leading off the inning, Gleyber Torres sent a liner past a shifted Donovan Solano into right-center; outhustling Nick Gordon, Torres beat Gordon’s throw to second, which skittered past Carlos Correa covering and across the third base line, allowing Torres to reach third.
- Willie Calhoun followed with a hot grounder that Joey Gallo knocked down; recovering to pick up the ball, Gallo flipped to the nearby Solano instead of to Maeda covering the bag, giving the Yankees a free baserunner and plating Torres.
- On the next pitch, Isiah Kiner-Falefa bunted past a diving Maeda into no-man’s land between first and second, reaching on the bunt single and causing a delay as trainers checked on Maeda.
Though Maeda stayed in the game, it did not turn out for the better; after a hard lineout to center, Maeda walked Oswaldo Cabrera to load the bases. As Yankees fans can expect their batters to actually drive in runners when three are on, said batters chose to demonstrate why, Anthony Volpe singling in Calhoun and Aaron Judge doubling in everyone.
Poor defense and an inability to avoid bat-on-ball contact led to more Yankee runs in the fourth, as with Kyle Higashioka on base, Cabrera bunted him to second; Maeda bounced the throw to first, Joey Gallo couldn’t scoop it, and New York had two in scoring position. They weren’t in scoring position for long as Volpe doubled to left-center and brought them in. Judge walked, Anthony Rizzo doubled both home, and Maeda finally ceded the mound to the Head Rock himself, Brent Headrick. Unfortunately, Maeda would end up with 10 runs charged against him as Torres sent a two-run homer that couldn’t have been caught with a pogo stick atop a trampoline.
On the upside, Jose Miranda got his power stroke back, slugging two homers in his first two plate appearances. When in his third he took a Domingo Germán pitch between the shoulder blades, Gallo made up for the lost opportunity with a dinger of his own.
The seventh saw Nick Gordon of the .100 batting average swat a triple to right (knocking Germán from the game) and come in to score when Max Kepler beat out a double-play grounder, but the Yankees got that run back on a sac fly, Trevor Larnach pulling a DJ LeMahieu clobbering back over the fence.
Nothing else doing.
On to the Royals.
HEAD ROCK — 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R (both earned), 2 BB, 8 K
DH Jose Miranda — 2-3, 2 HR, 3 RBI, HBP
1B-CF Joey Gallo — 1-4, HR, 2 RBI
SP Kenta Maeda — 3+ IP, 11 H, 10 R (all earned), 2 BB, 2 K
Lineup’s top three* — combined 0-11, 1 BB, 4 K
* technically four; the lineup began Max Kepler / Carlos Correa / Trevor Larnach, but Ryan Jeffers substituted in the field for Correa to begin the sixth
C-1B Christian Vázquez — 0-4, 3 K, game-ending lineout
Buffalo Wild Wings — including Meghan Trainor’s “Mother” on their overhead playlist
COMMENT OF THE GAME goes to Wannabe525 for discussing the possibility of using foreign swears in Twinkie Town article titles.