Shortly after an offensive explosion, the Twins returned once again to their one-run-scoring ways — but this time, it didn’t matter. Bailey Ober delivered a 7-inning beauty, striking out eight Baltimore hitters across seven shutout innings, allowing just two knocks, not walking a batter, and coughing up just three instances of solid contact across 85 pitches. Wowza.
It’s an outing worth reviewing, and goes to show how far Ober has come in his third — and certainly best-yet — season. Ober got both Cedric Mullins and Gunnar Henderson to strike out twice, and was neither in danger or at any point laboring across his entire seven-inning start.
He also pitched from the driver’s seat after a fourth-inning Joey Gallo solo blast nearly earned him a Eutaw plaque.
The Twins would turn things over to Griffin Jax for a spotless eighth, then call upon Jhoan Duran for a statement save on the road. With one out, Duran allowed a softly-grounded single to Adley Rutschman; which prompted a post-review steal of second by pinch-runner Jorge Mateo, in a sequence that electrified the Baltimore crowd for really the first time all series.
It was amidst a cacophony of aggressive chants that Max Kepler got a crucial second out by making one of the best catches of his career, charging full-speed down the line and making a sliding foul-ball catch in front of the right-field wall.
With the second out comfortably in hand, Duran made quick work of Ryan O’Hearn, getting him to ground out on just his eighth pitch of an eventful ninth inning. It was a great, breezy win for the Twins, one that went a bit beyond the box score and kept things entertaining all the way through its comfortable 2:20 pace.
Days after a demoralizing Atlanta Brave sweep, Minnesota has a chance to earn a road sweep of the second-place Baltimore Orioles, in what would be an encouraging rebound for a Twins team that have just clawed their way back to the .500 mark. It’s an early Sunday morning game — the third pre-noon central start for the Twins within the last couple of weeks — so tune into Peacock and catch the action tomorrow morning.
See you then!
SP Bailey Ober (7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K)
RF Max Kepler (2-for-4, highlight-reel catch in the 9th)
LF Joey Gallo (1-for-2, R, RBI, HR, BB)
NO DUDS! TWINS WIN! TWINS WIN!