Hot Twins bats staked starter Pedro López to a pretty big lead in this one, and he managed to give most of it back (with help from a dramatastic bullpen). Some questionable umping worked in Minnesota’s favor late... so, for once the fix is in on our side! Inning-by-inning notes:
1: After being bad in his last start, López has an ominous beginning here... he can’t put Bobby Witt Jr. away with two strikes, and Witt doubles off the wall. He scores, that’ll be it for the rest of the game, I promise!
Keplomb! (It’s a combination of Kepler, aplomb, and bomb.) That is a crummy word combo but the homer counts anyways. Tied 1-1
2: See? I told ya. López will never allow another run!
Minnesota’s Master Of Strolls, Trevor Larnach, does what he does and takes the leadoff walk. Jose Miranda doubles him to third, and Gallo get a walk of his own. Then, uh-oh, Christian Vasquez pops out. It’s a trap! Fortunately, Michael A “Tater” Taylor draws a tater of a walk, and Kepler gets his second RBI of the game on a sac fly. So, only half a trap. Twins 3-1
3: The Royals’ Michael Massey is the anti-Larnach; he hasn’t walked once in 71 ABs this season. It wouldn’t have mattered if he did, anyways. López could load all the bases (even the secret ones you don’t know about) and still nobody would score. It’s impossible.
Jordan Lyles has his first scoreless inning. I think that in Kansas City, they should play part of “The Boxer” every time he strikes somebody out. You know which part I mean: “lie lie lie, lie lie lie lie lie lie lie“ etc. Nobody would ever tire of this!
4: OK, so López does allow another run, but it comes after two outs, so it’s not a REAL run. Edward Olivares doubles and Nick Pratto knocks him in, sadly without any headfirst sliding.
Joey “Wheels” Gallo leads off with a triple off the limestone flower planters, and Vazquez hits a short flyout. Then, CIrcus Baseball! Taylor lays down the safety squeeze, and when Salvador Perez picks it up there isn’t really a play at first. So he doesn’t make the throw... then he turns around and walks back to home. Nobody’s covering second for some reason, so Taylor gets there easily. It’s OFFICIALLY SCORED A BUNT DOUBLE.
Kepler walks, and Taylor steals third (he’s the only Twin to successfully steal a base this season, so his three nabs lead the team). Unfortunately Correa pops up (yep, on another inside fastball). So Jorge Polanco says “all aboardl” and hits career dong #100. Twins 7-2
5: López decides to speed up pace of play the old-fashioned way and send the Royals down on seven pitches. New Kansas City pitcher Josh Taylor throws a pitch that Jose Miranda doesn’t like, so he makes it go away over the outfield wall. Twins 8-2
6: Oh, Pablo. Perez homers, Olivares triples, Pratto knocks him in. This is more runs than one should give the Royals. Since López’s last bad start was against the Nationals, maybe he just needs to be kept in storage to face decent teams? Twins 8-4
7: López, still in for some reason, walks Torii Brian (Hunter Dozier), then leaves the game after Massey singles TB/HD to third. So off we go into the wild blue yonder with Capt. Griffin Jax, USAF. Once speedster Witt Jr. replaces Massey by beating out the back half of a double play, he steals second, is wild-pitched to third, and scores on a Perez single. Technically, that run is charged to López. Such are baseball stats at times.
Outside of a Buxton walk, the Twins do nothing against reliever Amir Garrett. Twins 8-6
8: Edward Olivares has his THIRD extra-base hit of the day, this time a double off Caleb Thielbar. But then, strikeout, popout, walk. Massey (he of the 0 walks on the season) takes Thielbar to a 3-2 count. Here comes the pitch...
Thank you, home ump Jerry Layne! Thielbar misses low with the fastball, Massey takes it, Layne calls “strike” and KC manager Matt Quataro gets ejected and the inning’s over. (OK, the half-inning, but it takes about 75 seconds for the Twins to all make hitting outs.)
9: Jhoan Duran is working on immigration papers today, so he’s unavailable. Instead, it’s the Twins other Lopez, the Jorge one, he of zero runs in 11 appearances this year.
With two outs, Perez lines a sharp single (nice night for him). MJ Melendez (full name: Mervyl S. Melendez) singles. Lopez plunks Edward Olivares. Bases loaded for Nick Pratto.
3-2 count. 98 MPH, swing and miss. No duds, Twims wim!
Studs of the game go to Taylor’s energy, Polanco’s great post-injury start, and Kepler/Miranda’s solo dongs. Gotta shout out Perez and Olivares for the Royals, too.
COTGs go to visitor griseldagrantly asking “I was catching some of this game on the MLB network. Is this the Twins’ broadcasting team I’m hearing?” and Brandon for “I’m sorry, DO YOU NEED ME TO BRING YOU ON DOWN MYSELF” per the visit to Polancoville.
Tommorow’s game features Big Brad Keller against Ballin’ Bailey Ober at 1:10. Catch ya then, maybe!