MIL 6, MIN 5: Twins Blow 3-Run Lead in 9th Inning
Image courtesy of © Michael McLoone-USA TODAY SportsBox Score
Maeda: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K
Home Runs: Buxton (1)
Bottom 3 WPA: Colome -.455, Dobnak -.355, Garver -.104
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs):
In an emotional roller coaster of an opener for Minnesota Twins fans, the coaster ended in a valley as the Minnesota Twins blew a three-run ninth inning lead and lost in extra innings to their border rivals. Let’s take a ride:
Kenta Maeda had a solid, yet not spectacular start for the Minnesota Twins as the Opening Day starter. While he only allowed one earned run, Maeda was only able to go 4 1/3 innings and allowed six hits, two walks and a hit batter over his start. Maeda flirted with trouble throughout his start, stranding a total of seven batters in the four complete innings that he pitched. The right hander did show increased velocity, tossing his fastball at an average of 92.8 MPH, 1.2 MPH above his average in 2020.
At the plate, the Minnesota Twins kicked off the scoring with two runs in the third inning on a Woodruff wild pitch and a Max Kepler RBI single. After trading runs in the middle innings, the game seemed like it was sealed in the seventh inning when Byron Buxton blasted a 114 MPH two-run home run into left-center field. This gave the Minnesota Twins a three-run lead with Rogers, Robles and Colomé set to close out the game.
After two perfect innings from Taylor Rogers and Hansel Robles in the seventh and eighth innings, newly acquired Alex Colomé gifted the game away by allowing two hits, a hit batter and three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to force extra innings where the Brewers walked off the Twins on a walk-off single by Avisail Garcia to give the Brewers a 6-5 victory.
While a loss is never fun, the most important development from Opening Day was the injury to Josh Donaldson. Donaldson injured his leg in the top of the first inning running to second base on a double.
At first glance, it appeared that Josh Donaldson re-injured the calf that has plagued him throughout his career. As more information came out, though, it was revealed that the injury was a hamstring pull. We still don’t know the severity of the injury or how much (if any) time Donaldson will miss, but after an injury-riddled 2020, this is just about the worst way to begin the 2021 season for the former MVP.
Rocco Baldelli indicated that the team would re-evaluate Josh Donaldson tomorrow on the team’s off day.
While defense was a priority in the offseason for the Minnesota Twins, Opening Day was not the best showcase of their gloves. The Minnesota Twins made two official errors with a third error not being officially called as such. The first error came in the fifth inning from newly-acquired shortstop, Andrelton Simmons. Simmons dropped a Miguel Sanó throw that should have been a double play. That runner later went on to score in the inning.
The second error of the game came from Alex Colomé when he tried throwing out the lead runner at second base rather than taking the easy out at first in the ninth inning.
Additionally in the ninth inning, Max Kepler dropped a fly ball off the bat of Christian Yelich in right field that should have been out number two, but instead turned into a run-scoring single.
Better days will surely be ahead for the Minnesota Twins defense, but it was disappointing watching a unit that was supposed to be a strength struggle so much.
Big Day for Max Kepler
After a miserable Spring Training in which he went 3-for-43, Kepler matched his Spring hit total in today’s opener, going 3-for-5 and just a home run short of hitting for the cycle. Kepler is in a prove-it year in 2021 after a down season in 2020 and is already showing that his Spring struggles are behind him and he is primed for a bounce-back season this year.
The Minnesota Twins have an off-day tomorrow before facing off against Milwaukee again on Saturday where José Berríos will make his season debut.
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