CHW 4, MIN 3: Donaldson Ejection Steals the Show, White Sox Take Series
Image courtesy of Chart via FanGraphsBox Score
Maeda: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 K
Home Runs: Buxton 2 (12), Donaldson (5)
Bottom 3 WPA: Romo -.371, Wisler -.164, Sanó -.150
Byron Buxton has been on a power display since his return from the IL. After his inside the park home run in game one of this series was taken away, Buxton has proceeded to homer in each of the last three games of the series, including two more today. The first was a solo shot in the top of the second, and the second was also a solo shot that came in his next at-bat in the fifth.
The Twins have had quite the issue with the home plate umpiring throughout this four-game series. In the sixth, Josh Donaldson took exception to yet another missed call by the umpire. After some words with home plate umpire Dan Bellino, Rocco Baldelli came out to have a word and help defuse the situation. On the very next pitch, Josh Donaldson took out his frustration on both the baseball and on home plate, leading to his ejection.
Kenta Maeda had himself another solid outing for the Twins. He did give up a pair of solo home runs to Jose Abreu and Edwin Encarnacion, but other than that he was lights out against this strong White Sox lineup. Maeda’s best innings came in the second, where he struck out Eloy Jimenez, Edwin Encarnacion and Yoan Moncada for an easy 1-2-3 inning. With the way he is pitching, Maeda seems like a shoe in to start in game one of the Twins first Postseason series.
Matt Wisler came in to start the sixth inning in relief of Kenta Maeda, and immediately found himself in trouble. After loading the bases with just one out, Rocco Baldelli went to Trevor May to get out of the jam, and May did just that by striking out Yoan Moncada before getting Luis Robert to fly out to end the inning.
There was more chaos in the Twins half of the seventh. Buxton leadoff the inning with a single, for his third hit of the ballgame. The with one out, Ryan Jeffers appeared to hit a flyout to centerfielder Luis Robert, however, after lapse in concentration from Robert that caused him to drop the ball the Twins were suddenly in business. Buxton took off running when the ball hit the ground, and as he approached third, he was inexplicably sent home by third base coach Tony Diaz with the ball almost already to the cutoff man. After an easy throw home, Buxton was out by about 45 feet. Had he stayed, the Twins could have had Buxton on third with just one out, to try and add insurance to what was a one run lead at the time.
The Twins were not as fortunate on the mound in the seventh as they were in the sixth. After Tyler Clippard began the inning, Rocco Baldelli again made a move to the pen in the middle of the inning to try and get out of a jam, this time calling on Sergio Romo to get out of first and third with two outs. Romo was able to induce a weak groundball from Jose Abreu, however, Jorge Polanco was unable to make the play in-time, deep in the hole, and the game was tied at three. Eloy Jimenez then followed up with a double down the left-field line, giving the White Sox their first lead of the game.
In the eighth and ninth innings, the Twins were able to get two-out singles from Nelson Cruz and Marwin Gonzalez respectively, however, they were unable to capitalize on their chances to tie up the game, as the Twins fall by a final score of 4-3.
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