This might have been the exact outcome Twins fans were expecting.
A starting assignment for Sonny Gray went as well as it could — meanwhile, a starting lineup anchored by leadoff hitter Andrew Stevenson produced just as you’d think. A 1-0 defeat to the Los Angeles Angels in the second game of the weekend set, all things considered, is pretty much par for the course after a division-clinching nailbiter.
A rare home run off Gray was the only blemish on the linescore of the veteran righty, who lowered his ERA all the way down to 2.80 with a four-hit performance, striking out eight Angels through six innings and turning in yet another incredible outing. He was tagged only by Jo Adell, whose 3rd homer of the year, a fourth-inning shot into the seats, served as the only run for either side today.
Meanwhile, a chorus of five Angel pitchers held Rocco Baldelli’s Glucose Gang to five total hits. Two belonged to Christian Vazquez, on a bit of a “tear” relative to his sub-.600 OPS. Kyle Farmer had a pair himself, extending a stretch in which everything seems to be going right for him. (Stevenson had the only other hit.)
Neither side had an exceptional threat during the game, and two stellar late-inning defensive plays wrapped up the story. One was an eighth-inning relay to cut down the would-be second Angel run at home; the other, a home-half web gem of a backhand/barehand double play combo.
Farmer would be drilled square in the elbow to lead off the ninth, but closer Carlos Estevez racked up a couple strikeouts and got Los Angeles out of what barely qualified as a jam. The series is even and the Twins fall back to nine games above .500, but after last night’s celebration/minor waterboarding exercises, there can’t be too many bad vibes in the clubhouse, or around Twins Territory.
The series will wrap up tomorrow afternoon, and from there one week remains in the regular season. The final playoff jockeying will kick into gear, and Minnesota will inch closer to ascertaining the identity of their first-round matchup. See you down the stretch!
SP Sonny Gray (6 IP, 4 H, ER, 0 BB, 8 K)
SS Kyle Farmer (2-for-3, HBP)
C Christian Vazquez (2-for-4)
RF Matt Wallner (0-for-4, 3 K)
Post-clinch afternoon start times
ROBOT ROLL CALL:
The comments section was also experiencing some morning-after symptoms, with 12 contributions through the course of the game. You guys are the die-hards... thanks as always for reading!