You may have heard that today was MLB’s trade deadline. While each of the 30 MLB teams made at least one trade since the start of July, the Twins weren’t one of the clubs active in the trade market today. Pablo Lopez delivered 6 solid innings with the same teammates he started the day with, Donnie Barrels delivered the deciding hit off the bench, and the Twins' high-leverage bullpen triumvirate got it done.
The Twins had single batters reach base in each of the first three innings against St. Louis right-hander Miles Mikolas but were unable to advance any of them beyond first base. Meanwhile, Lopez retired the first seven Cardinals he faced before stranding a one-out single in the third.
Minnesota went in order for the first time in the top of the 4th. The game’s first real excitement took place in the bottom of the 4th when Max Kepler ranged into foul territory in shallow right field and navigated around the stands to make an excellent running catch for the second out.
Minnesota would break through on the scoreboard in the top of the 5th with some help from the Cardinals' defense. Ryan Jeffers laced a one-out double to the wall in left field to get it started. Jeffers alertly advanced to third on Joey Gallo’s center field flyout. That extra 90 feet gained would prove important when Michael A. Taylor’s bouncer to the hole between short and third base stretched the throwing arm of Tommy Edman (who was playing shortstop in part because St. Louis traded shortstop Paul DeJong to Toronto earlier in the day). The play resulted in an error that allowed Jeffers to score and Taylor to reach. Minnesota 1, St. Louis 0
Lopez would set down St. Louis in order in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a baserunning blunder by rookie Jordan Walker. Walker initially appeared to have gained all the way to third base when third baseman Jorge Polanco threw away a routine, broken-bat grounder. Replays revealed that Walker failed to touch first base. The Twins appealed the call at first base and were denied. Then Baldelli asked for a crew chief huddle and the umpires convened and overturned the call and Walker was called out. St. Louis then challenged that decision and a replay review upheld the out call, which marked the third review/challenge that went in the Twins’ favor in this one.
Former Twin Taylor Motter led off the St. Louis sixth with a single to start a rally for the Redbirds against Lopez. After an out and another single, Lopez was able to whiff Paul Goldschmidt with two on. He wasn’t able to escape unscathed, though, because Nolan Arenado ripped an RBI single to left that scored a run to tie the game. Twins 1, Cardinals 1
Matt Wallner, playing left, and Polanco teamed up with Carlos Correa to snuff out the threat and get Lopez out of the inning with a well-executed relay to third base on Arenado’s base hit. Wallner made a ridiculously strong and accurate throw, measured at 100.4 mph by Statcast, that was cut by Polanco and relayed to Correa covering third for the out.
Matt Wallner— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) August 2, 2023
This throw from the @Twins rookie clocked in at 100.4 mph, making it the second-fastest outfield assist in MLB this season and third-fastest in the team's history according to Statcast: pic.twitter.com/ccXzxZFXG1
Lopez was solid throughout and finished with a final line of 6 IP, 4 hits, 1 run, no walks, and 5 strikeouts on 94 pitches.
The Twins would answer back in the top of the 7th when Polanco led off with a single and was moved to third by a Wallner pitching wedge that plopped in down the left-field line for a ground-rule double. With one out and runners on 2nd and 3rd, Baldelli went to his bench for Donovan Solano to pinch hit for Joey Gallo, despite the Cardinals still having right-hander Mikolas on the mound. It was a situation that begged for contact and Baldelli had to make the move, even with Gallo having a platoon advantage. Solano came through, grounding a two-run single up the middle. Twins 3, Cardinals 1
Emilio Pagan took over the bottom of the 7th and worked around a one-out walk to keep the Cardinals off the board. Minnesota went quietly in the top of the 8th, stranding a two-out Byron Buxton double.
Griffin Jax worked the 8th for the Twins, getting two quick outs before getting everyone’s heart rates up with back-to-back singles and an Arenado warning track flyout on a breaking ball that was left up.
Minnesota went in order in the top of the 9th and turned it over to Jhoan Duran for the save opportunity. Duran got the first out on an easy ground out before Tyler O’Neill went oppo taco against a 102-mph fastball that got too much of the plate (That’s a ridiculous thing to have to write... what a crazy pitching environment we are watching). Twins 3, Cardinals 2
That was all St. Louis would get though, as Duran struck out the next two batters.
The win, combined with the Guardians’ getting no-hit Madduxed by Framber Valdez in Houston increases the Twins' lead in the standings to +2.
Pablo Lopez (6 IP, 1 ER, 5K, 0 BB)
Donovan Solano (1-2, Pinch hit 2 RBI single)
Twins’ dugout challenges (3 for 3)
None on the active roster in a victory, them’s the rules
The Front Office for their trade deadline performance
Joe Ryan against the Cardinals, 6:45p First-Pitch. Maybe he’ll throw more offspeed pitches when he’s behind in the count. Something to watch!