Twins Game Recap (7/26): Pineda Fuels Twins Easy Win In Chicago
Image courtesy of FanGraphsBox Score
Pineda: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 64.5% strikes (62 of 96 pitches)
Bullpen (Thorpe): 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
Home Runs: Kepler (27), Cruz (26)
Multi-Hit Games: Cruz (3-for-4, HR, BB, 2 RBI), Sanó (2-for-4)
Top 3 WPA: Pineda .192, Kepler .188, Cruz .122
A record-breaking 200th home run
The best offense in baseball continues to destroy records. Max Kepler hit a three-run home run in the second inning, the 200th for the Twins in the season, which makes them the fastest team to reach that many dingers (103 games). The previous record belonged to the 2005 Texas Rangers, who hit their bicentennial homer in their 122nd game. Minnesota is now on pace to hit 316 homers in the year. Kepler also extended his home run leadership among German born players, now with 83 career bombas, five more than former Mariners infielder Mike Blowers.
That homer was part of yet another relentless effort by Minnesota bats, who were able to score five runs in one inning. Young White Sox starter Dylan Cease gave up six hits in the second, including an RBI-single to Nelson Cruz, as well as a sac fly to Byron Buxton with the bases loaded. Curiously enough, such productive offense has the second worst batting average in the majors with the bases loaded, now with .193, and is one out of five teams in the league with one or no grand slams this season.
Pineda continues to rise
Twins starter Michael Pineda once again had an outstanding outing, delivering the third quality start in his last four starts. For the first time since June 28, the Twins had two back-to-back seven inning outings from their starters. Overall it was an uneventful start for him, who only had issues during the third inning, in which he gave up a walk and three hits, one of which was a two-run homer to Adam Engel.
In his last eight starts, Pineda’s now posted a 2.87 ERA, 9.0 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9. He’s come up big for the Twins when they needed the most and is making a strong case to lock his rotation spot in an eventual post-season run, even if the club trade for rotation help.
The bullpen also thanked Pineda for his outing, as the Twins were able to use only one reliever for the third straight game. Lewis Thorpe had yet another very good outing, pitching two scoreless innings. In that three-game span, the Twins relievers gave up only one earned run.
Nelson Cruz still hot
Nelson Cruz refuses to cool down. In the seventh inning he hit his 26th home run of the year, his tenth since the All-Star break. This was also the fifth consecutive game in which he homered, making him the first 39-year-old to do so since Barry Bonds, in 2004. The Boomstick is now on pace to hit over 40 home runs in the season.
The Twins are now 63-40 and maintain a two-game lead over Cleveland in the AL Central. The Indians beat the Royals. Minnesota goes for its first series win in two weeks tomorrow, as Martín Pérez faces Ivan Nova.
Postgame With Baldelli
Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days.
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