MIN 11, TB 7: Dozier Grand Slam Ends Wild Game, First Half
Image courtesy of © Brad Rempel-USA TODAY SportsSnapshot (chart via FanGraphs)
Fernando Romero: 35 Game Score, 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 1 K, 0 BB, 65.4% strikes
Bullpen: 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 K, 4 BB
Lineup: 6-for-12 w/RISP, 9 LOB
WPA of 0.1 or higher: Dozier .550, Rosario .293, Busenitz .254, Mauer .210, Polanco .134, Rogers .111
WPA of -0.1 or lower: Hildenberger -.800, Romero -.235, Garver -.196
First thing’s first, here’s the Dozier grand slam to end it:
There were a lot of noteworthy things that thankfully didn’t end up mattering in the end. Without knowing what really happened it’s difficult to say for sure, but it definitely seemed weird that Escobar was the only player ejected in this one. Both teams cleared the benches twice, but no punches were thrown.
It’s still not clear what started the tension, but it appeared as through Tampa Bay took exception to Dozier celebrating a run-scoring balk he drew and as a result they threw a pitch inside to Escobar. We’ll learn more as the details come out, but it would be really strange if the guy who was the target was the only one kicked out of the game. Don’t get me wrong, Eduardo was heated, but it seemed like he had reason to be.
After seeing some more video from the Tampa Bay feed, it's obvious that the 101 mph pitch was intended to hit Escobar, and then Rays manager Kevin Cash said, well, some things I can't repeat here.
Then in the bottom of the eighth, it appeared from the replays that Jake Cave got his toe on home plate before Tampa catcher Jesus Sucre got the tag on him. That run would have inceased the Twins’ lead to two runs and would have extended the inning. But the original call was out, and that somehow stood even after a review. That out ended the inning, keeping the Minnesota lead at just one run.
Paul Molitor decided to use Fernando Rodney to finish out the fifth inning today. That meant it was Trevor Hildenberger’s job to close out the game for the Twins. Hildy blew the lead in the eighth, giving up a two-run double that put the Rays up 6-5, but the bats stormed back in the bottom of that inning to give Trevor a second chance. He blew that as well.
Hildenberger gave up the game-tying run in the ninth, ending the day with three earned runs on four hits and a walk over his inning of work.
But none of that mattered.
All that really mattered in the end was that Dozier slugged a walk-off grand slam to give the Twins an 11-7 victory. Just the result of this game alone is a positive way to send things into the All-Star break, but the Twins also concluded their homestand with a 9-2 record.
Cave hit a leadoff double in the 10th then was bunted over to third by Mitch Garver. Joe Mauer and Eddie Rosario were intentionally walked to set up a potential double play, bringing up Dozier.
Rosario had another outstanding game to cap off a great first half. He was 3-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs. He'll have the next four days off, but his .311 average and .890 OPS indicate he should probably be heading out to Washington DC right now.
Postgame With Dozier
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
AL Central Standings
MIN 44-50 (-7.5)
DET 41-57 (-12.5)
CHW 33-62 (-19)
KC 27-68 (-25)
Last Three Games
TB 19, MIN 6: This Never Happened
MIN 11, TB 8: Twins Get a Scare on Friday the 13th, Prevail over Pesky Rays
MIN 5, TB 1: Who’s the Snub?
- nclahammer likes this