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Twins 2, Guardians 0: Minnesota prevails in pitching duel/battle of batting futility

Our three hits were better than your three hits, nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah!

Minnesota Twins v Cleveland Guardians
Tenacious “B” And The Mullet Of Destiny
Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Apparent Cy Young contenders Bailey Ober and Peyton Battenfield (a rookie with a 5.90 ERA) completely shut down their foes with sticks for five innings. Max Kepler changes that, and Minnesota’s slightly overworked bullpen holds down the score you see above. Inning-by-inning notes:

1: Technically this is before the game, but a brass band doing the anthem sends Mrs. James (who teaches piano to children, and quite compassionately so) into near-hysterics. “Don’t laugh,” I say, “these sixth-graders are trying SO HARD...” And it gets even funnier.

Well, it wasn’t sixth-graders. It was the marching band of a large university (which will remain nameless, I don’t wish to be mean). Also the Twins hitters all suck now

2: Donovan Solano, playing first, grounds out softly to continue the Twins’ non-hitting ways and end the inning. Why is Solano playing first? Because Joey Gallo is in left, replacing Trevor Larnach who was optioned to AAA. Who was called up from AAA? Alex Kirilloff. Why is the lefty Kirilloff not playing? Maybe he has jet lag.

3: Cleveland’s pitcher is named Peyton. So is the former NFL quarterback. The quarterback is from N’Orleans. The pitcher is from Tulsa. Peyton Place was a 1960s soap opera that had Ryan O’Neal and Mia Farrow in it. Farrow left after her husband told her to. Her husband at the time was Frank Sinatra. He was much older than her.

Cleveland’s Peyton is perfect through three innings.

Myles Straw walks with two outs. Bailey Ober tries to pick him off and misses everything. Fortunately, Steven Kwan (no relation to the skater) can’t knock him in. Kwan went to Oregon State. My brother went to Oregon State. Gary Payton Jr. went to Oregon State. My brother would sometimes play Pop-A-Shot with Gary Payton Sr. and hold his own. Because it’s not real basketball. It’s real-er!

4: Peyton is still perfect. Can Bailey keep his no-hitter going? Cleveland has fewer strikeouts than any team in MLB... and the third-lowest OPS+. They do get a hit here, a two-out double by Josh Naylor, which amounts to nothing. Just like all existence, emotion, and thought.

5: Still Peyperfect subjunctive. At least Ober’s still good. He’ll need to be. Tyler Mahle was moved from the 15-day IL to the 60-day one, so he’s not coming back before fireworks stands in grocery store parking lots. Incidentally, BH-Baseball and Imyourhuckleberry had an interesting discussion about the Mahle trade in the comments to yesterday’s game recap. Read it, learn things!

6: Take that like a Pop-A-Shot beatdown, Peyton! With two outs (it’s a theme!) Christian Rafael Vázquez singles to break up the everything, and Herr Maximilian von der Kepler homers to end the shutout. The Twins! United! Cannot Be Defeated!The Twins! United! Etc... Twins 2-0

7: Well, that dinger didn’t dongle Battenfield any. He picks up two more strikeouts of the Twins’ two best sluggers, giving him a line of 7 IP, 7 SO, 2 H, 0 BB. Have I mentioned that when the Twins have a K/BB ratio of it generally doesn’t mean they’re swinging very well?

Of course Ober is still in, because everyone decent in the Twins’ pen pitched a stressful inning yesterday except Caleb Thielbar. And he went on the IL today. (He was replaced by Dereck, son of Pudge.) Griffin Jax was decent last year, but has been something of an F-35 lately.

Things get a little wild with two outs! (It IS a theme.) With José Enrique Ramírez on second, Oscar Gonzalez bounces a ball off the plate like Metrodome Flubber. Ober gets it, throws to first, and Gonzalez beats it out. Ramirez tries to score, though! And Solano nails him at the plate. Adventure, hah! Excitement, hah! A Twins fan seeks not such things.

8: Ok, so this was like that, but better. Solano took a leadoff walk, Michael A. Taylor ran for him, started stealing second, and took third on a wild pitch.

Wait, runner on third, no outs? You know that’s a Twins Trap, right? Nick Gordon pops a fly, Jose Miranda dribbles one right to third that eats Taylor in a rundown, and really who cares what happens after that because you know it’s nothing.

It’s Jorge López time, he doesn’t know the meaning of the words “tired arm.” (He used to, until an elective surgical procedure made him incapable of comprehending those vocal sounds.) 10 pitches? Three Cleveland outs. I can’t believe it, but the Twins only need three more! HOW WILL THEY BLOW IT?

9: All right, let’s Save A Prayer for Jhoan Duran. He threw 16 stressful pitches yesterday, just like López. And JUST LIKE in the two recent ChiSox losses, a Twins reliever starts the inning walking the leadoff guy. Kwan. With batters 2-4 to follow.

#2 (Amed Rosario) = K. #3 (Ramirez) = groundout. #4 (Naylor) = ꓘ (on crappy call by home ump Dan Iassogna). What was I worried about? Twims win!

Studs of the game include Ober, Kepler, and Solano’s heads-up throw. COTGs go to Uncle Lincoln for “Launch the monkeys into orbit! (Or whatever we do when the Twims wim.)” Also Kirillofffan19 for AK actually being on the active roster now, plus this 9th-inning bit:

Duran Duran chooses to Save a Prayer for later because Planet Earth isn’t an Ordinary World. All those quality starts in the past? Careless Memories. Is there Something I Should Know about Duran’s starts recently? Or have our bullpen boys just been Wild Boys recently? I guess its just The Reflex of Duran to walk the first guy.

Some of us were already going there last season, youngling, catch up! But we always appreciate throwbacks to the classics, in every sense.

Tune in tomorrow at the odd start time of 5:10 for super Sonny Gray against yet another Cleveland rookie, Logan “L.T.” Allen. Thanks for being on the gamethread, everyone!