clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Twins 8, Phillies 1: Now That’s More Like It

Pablo posts up; Gallo and Wallner lead the bats in a rout

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Philadelphia Phillies
Mr. Gallo was 4-4, with a walk and two homers
Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

Game Summary: This one was close through the middle innings, then Joey Gallo salted it away late. Pablo López was strong through six innings and gave the Twins a great start to stop their 4 game skid.

Courtesy of Baseball Savant

Highlights and Notes:

Phillies starter Taijuan Walker operates primarily with a splitter that he throws for chase and three versions of fastballs (sinker, four-seamer, cutter) that he uses to try to make up for the absence of a workable breaking pitch. His game is predicated on opposing hitters chasing the split and making weak contact on the fastballs that he nibbles around the zone with. Among 64 qualified pitchers coming into today, Walker’s 47.8% in zone rate ranks just 51st this season.

The key going into tonight’s contest for the Twins’ offense was likely going to be how well they could stay off the low splits and force Walker to give them pitches to hit with his other pitches.

Edouard Julien led off the top of the 1st for the Twins and drew a walk on a 3-2 splitter that missed the plate. Jorge Polanco drew another walk out of the two-hole and gave the Twins two on and no out for Carlos Correa and Max Kepler.

So far, so good in the patience department.

Correa, perhaps hoping to ambush a first-pitch fastball from a pitcher struggling with command, jammed himself on a 0-0 sinker that was not middle-middle (it wasn’t even in the strike zone, actually). The end result was a one-pitch groundout that advanced the runners.

Kepler also swung at the first pitch and knocked a ground out to short that would score Julien. That’s all the Twins would get in the first, even though Ryan Jeffers, who was DH’ing tonight in place of an injured Willi Casto (day-to-day, sore back, per radio) drew another walk. So much for patience leading to a big inning. Twins 1, Phillies 0

López worked a quick bottom of the 1st, striking out Kyle Schwarber and Bryce Harper in the process.

The Twins’ top of the 2nd was uneventful aside from Gallo drawing Walker’s fourth walk of the contest. Trea Turner coaxed a two-out walk from López in the Philly second but was not able to advance beyond first base.

A Correa walk and a Kepler single gave the Twins a one-out threat in the 3rd, but Jeffers bounced into a double play off a low and inside sinker. López added two more strikeouts to his ledger in a three up, three down bottom of the 3rd.

Matt Wallner came into the game hitting .184 and whiffing against 38.4% of opposing breaking balls this season. Walker, even though he doesn’t often throw breaking pitches (just 8% this season) decided to target Wallner’s apparent weakness and fed Wallner two curveballs to lead off the 4th. Wallner fouled the first away and then got all the of 2nd one, roping a hanger for a solo home run into the right field seats (his 8th, 107.5 mph exit velocity, 390 feet). Twins 2, Phillies 0

With two out, Gallo went down and golfed a Walker splitter out to left field for another homer. It was a high pop (39° launch angle) that just kept going and snuck over the wall. Per Statcast, it would have been a home run in only three other MLB ballparks (Minute Maid in Houston, Fenway, and Wrigley). It was Gallo’s 19th home run of the season. Twins 3, Phillies 0

López stranded a two-out single in the bottom half. It’s worth noting that he benefitted from Harper making a curious choice to attempt to bunt for a hit with one out.

Correa drew another walk in the fifth inning (Walker’s 6th of the night, tying a career-high) and Jeffers was hit by a pitch, but the Twins were not able to score.

López got into and out of his first real jam of the night when his command wobbled a bit in the bottom of the 5th. Turner led off with a single and former Twins legend Jake Cave kept the line moving with a one-out single, giving the Phillies runners on 1st and 2nd. López would work out of the spot with a lineout to right field and a Schwarber pop-out to Correa behind second base.

Walker was replaced in the 6th by left-hander Matt Strahm. Gallo continued his strong evening with a single off the wall in right field, but he was stranded when Michael A. Taylor and Julien struck out.

Let’s revisit our key to the game — the Twins avoiding chasing against Walker. Walker threw 94 laborious pitches in his five innings of work, allowing 3 runs on 3 hits, and 6 walks. He struck out two and allowed two homers. Just 37 of his 94 pitches (39.3%) were in the zone and the Twins kept their out-of-zone chase rate to 21%, well below Walker’s 28.1% season rate and their own 28.7% team rate. Solid approach and solid results.

López, still under 80 pitches, worked around a Harper double in the bottom of the 6th (why did he bunt earlier?) with major help from a spectacular diving catch by Taylor in the left-center field gap that saved a run.

That would mark López’s final inning of work and did he ever deliver a strong game (now his fifth in a row, read the game preview!). López threw 92 pitches over 6 scoreless innings, allowing 4 hits, a walk, and striking out 7. He allowed just four hard-hit balls (26.7%) and drew 18 swings and misses (38.3%).

The Twins blew things open and put the game away in the top of the 7th. Philadelphia brought in another left-handed reliever, former Tiger closer Gregory Soto. Correa continued his strong night by hitting a no-doubt solo homer to left field (his 15th). The homer was Correa’s only hit, although he reached three times, and made it the 8th game in a row he’s gotten a hit. Twins 4, Phillies 0

Kepler continued his zombie resurgence when he turned on a 99-mph fastball (left on left, remember) into the right-field corner for a double. Jeffers drew a walk, and Wallner poked one through the middle (again, left-on-left) to score another run. Twins 5, Phillies 0

A pitching change and a fielder’s choice set the stage for Gallo again and he delivered the big blow against the textbook definition of a hanging slider. He launched one to the upper decks in right field for a majestic three-run homer that was measured at 412 feet and 108.2 mph off the bat. It was a moonshot and Gallo’s 20th of the year. Twins 8, Phillies 0

That would complete the Twins’ scoring. Philadelphia would scratch across a run against Griffin Jax, who had started getting hot when the score was 3-0, in the 7th. Caleb Thielbar worked a scoreless 8th inning to get some work, and Jordan Balazovic mopped up the 9th. Final Score: Twins 8, Phillies 1


Pablo López (6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, BB, 7K)

Joey Gallo (4-4, 769 feet of homers, 2 R, BB, 4 RBI)

Matt Wallner (2-5, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI)

Carlos Correa (1-2, 2 BB, HR)


Not Today, Twins Win!


norff with this early geopolitical entry about Taijuan Walker’s first name. Thanks to everyone who participated in the game thread!

Standings: Tampa Bay scored three runs off Emmanuel Clase in the 9th to walk off the Guardians 6-5. The Twins lead the AL Central by 4.5 games.

Next: Tomorrow, 12:35p central. Sonny Gray takes the hill as the Twins look for a road series victory!