The Twins scored ten runs tonight, so of course, the pitching staff gave up seven.
It was the type of offensive performance expected out of any team facing Oakland’s abysmal litany of arms — the Twins jumped on the opener (Austin Pruitt) with two runs again in the first, before adding an additional pair in each of the next two innings against bulk man Hogan Harris. The Athletic tandem gave up solid contact and issued walks to a batting order demonstrating a better all-around approach against easier-than-general mound opponents.
Unfortunately, the offensive-minded evening bled over onto the A’s side, as well.
Pablo Lopez, fresh off a complete-game shutout and scoreless inning of All-Star work in Seattle, got through his first two innings without a scoring blemish, but proceeded to allow a total of seven earned runs across 5.2 innings of work. He ran up his pitch count to a noteworthy 106 (67 strikes) and surrendered the entirety of a 6-0 advantage to Major League Baseball’s worst franchise.
Despite the disappointing performance, Minnesota never trailed. The 6-0 lead in the third became a 7-4 lead in the fourth and a 7-6 split in the fifth, before Oakland finally tied the game with a sixth-inning sacrifice fly. But the Twins would strike back immediately in the seventh — a Kyle Farmer homer untying the game — and add an important insurance run in the eighth, with Byron Buxton drawing a bases-loaded walk.
Farmer delivered the Twins’ best performance of the night, going 3-for-4 with 3 RBI and a pair of extra-base hits. Another crucial tidbit involved Michael A. Taylor, who robbed a pinch-hit home run off the bat of Brent Rooker that would have swung things Oakland’s way after Pablo Lopez’s departure.
Other highlights included an immaculate fifth-inning delayed double steal, which saw Willi Castro tack on an all-important run by swiping home plate with two outs.
Each and every run was important in this one — Rooker would come up again in the home eighth representing the go-ahead run in another eventful two-out plate appearance (Oliver Ortega would induce a long opposite-field flyout to strand a pair of runners.)
Mercifully, Jhoan Duran would work a perfect ninth in a save situation to polish this one off.
This one stayed close after the third; it also ran long, suggesting there’s something in the Oakland air (beyond the birds oft-mentioned by the telecast) dragging out the experience of visiting a ballpark whose team and fans have been entirely abandoned by their Vegas-hungry ownership.
But the Twins haven’t abandoned them! No, sir — they’ll be back tomorrow afternoon to wrap things up in Oakland for the year. We hope to see you then!
SS Carlos Correa (3-for-5, R, 2 RBI, 2B)
2B Kyle Farmer (3-for-5, R, 3 RBI)
CF Michael A. Taylor (2-for-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, HR, HR-robbing catch)
RP Jhoan Duran (1 IP, 2 K)
NO DUDS! TWINS WIN!
ROBOT ROLL CALL: John Foley sums up the Athletics.