The Twins laid it on early and poured it on late, overcoming both a big inning and a late rally by the Houston Astros, to win their second straight game of the weekend set against the defending World Champions.
It started with an offensive outburst led by offseason acquisition and Minnesota crowd convert Kyle Farmer, who followed up his walk-off hit from yesterday by blasting a second-inning three-run shot in his first at-bat. Farmer would make solid contact three times out of four trips up, coming around to score after each time on base this afternoon.
Later in the same inning, a two-out rally put a couple men in scoring position for Trevor Larnach, who knocked in the game’s fourth run but was denied a fifth when Turbo Tommy sent trailing runner Carlos Correa into a dead-to-rights situation at home. Regardless, the stage was set for Joe Ryan, now pitching with a 4-0 lead.
Houston being Houston, they got it all right back.
at 116.0 mph, Yordan Alvarez's grand slam is the 2nd-hardest hit grand slam tracked by Statcast (2015), behind only:— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) April 8, 2023
118.0 mph from Giancarlo Stanton on 9/20/22 -- the walk-off when Judge hit No. 60 https://t.co/WOF5GWK2Qi
You can’t go a whole series without Yordan Alvarez — one of the premier hitters in the American League — touching you up a bit. When Ryan’s control slipped with men already aboard, the margin for error was slim; Yordan capitalized with on a first-pitch meatball to tie the game.
It could have snowballed, but Ryan settled down in a big way. Following in Gray’s footsteps from yesterday, Ryan bore down and reached double-digit strikeouts, generating a whopping 19 swings-and-misses from the Houston offense, and not allowing a baserunner through the rest of his six innings. Houston did not earn a hit against any of Ryan’s offspeed offerings, cutting through two doses of the new split-finger and three of the enhanced “sweeper.”
Ryan’s pitching counterpart, Luis Garcia, settled in after his blowup inning, too. Minnesota got two men on in the third, then couldn’t get back on the bases until the home sixth — by this time, manager Dusty Baker had already dipped into the bullpen. A one-out double from Kyle Farmer paid off when former Astro catcher Christian Vazquez roped an RBI single to left, restoring Minnesota’s lead.
With a slim advantage, the Twins opted to blow it up in the eighth. The Farmer-Vazquez combo went back to work, with Farmer singling a runner to second and Vazquez pulling another RBI single to push the lead to 6-4.
Then, Byron Buxton.
With a 9-4 lead, Rocco pulled Jovani Moran from his Magical Arm Barn and gave the lefty mop-up duty. Unfortunately, Moran forgot his mop, allowing a two-out, two-run shot to Jeremy Pena (his second on the year), then coughing up back-to-back singles to bring the tying run to the plate, and force Jhoan Duran into another ballgame.
Thankfully, Duran is That Guy. He dropped two breakers into the zone of pinch-hitter Yanier Diaz, then blew his hair back with 101.3 above the belt to end it.
The victory this afternoon cements a series win against the Houston Astros — no small feat for the organization. Tomorrow, they’ll go for an encouraging sweep against Baker’s Boys, where Tyler Mahle will look to build upon this starting rotation’s outstanding run.
2B Kyle Farmer (3-for-4, 3 R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI)
C Christian Vazquez (2-for-3, 2 R, 2 RBI)
RP Jorge Lopez (IP, 3 K)
Not on this side of the Mississippi. Twins win!