MIN 5, MIL 4: Rosario Scores Go-Ahead Run on Balk, Polanco Collects 4 Hits
Image courtesy of Brad Rempel-USA TODAY SportsWin Expectancy (via Fangraphs)
Rosario’s run made the difference, but the other big stories of this game were Jorge Polanco breaking out of his slump and the bullpen delivering another great performance.
Polanco went 4-for-4 and hit a huge two-run double. It was his first multi-hit game since July 1 and just the second time all year he’s had more than two hits. Polanco had as many hits tonight as he did all last month. He’s opened August with a five-game hitting streak after going 4-for-51 (.078) in July. Paul Molitor has gone back to running Polanco out there at shortstop everyday again, and it appears to be paying off.
Ervin Santana went 6.0 innings, was only credited with two earned runs of the four he gave up and had six strikeouts. For the second straight night, the bullpen shined bright.
Trevor Hildenberger struck out the first two batters he faced before giving up a single to Ryan Braun. After Buddy Boshers recorded the last out of the seventh, it was Ryan Pressly who came in for the eighth. He walked the first man he faced on four pitches, but miraculously had a seven-pitch inning. His fifth pitch on the frame turned into a double play and he got the final out on a fly ball to end a two-pitch at bat.
Molitor turned to Matt Belisle again for the save, despite the fact that he entered the night with a 9.85 ERA, 2.10 WHIP and 1.045 OPS against when working on zero days rest. Belisle answered the call and got the job done. Here’s the bullpen’s line from the past two games: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K.
All’s well that ends well, but this was not a very pretty win. The Twins had a difficult time scratching across runs tonight, going 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position while leaving 11 men on base. They left runners on second and third in both the third and fourth innings, then left the bases loaded in the fifth. In the sixth, they got runners on first and second base with no outs. Those runners were stranded.
In the seventh, Rosario was at second with no outs after Milwaukee right fielder Domingo Santana appeared to lose his fly ball in the lights. With no outs, Paul Molitor had Buxton bunt him over to third. Rosario managed to induce the balk, but the Twins left two more runners on that inning.
Along with struggling to deliver timely hits, the Twins also committed three errors. With two outs in the third inning, Polanco made a fielding error on what should have been the inning-ending ground out. That was the only really bad error -- the only one that should have resulted in an out. The others were on misplays that resulted in a player taking an extra base.
That same third inning, Buxton mishandled a slow roller and turned a run-scoring single into a two-run hit. The next inning, Dozier was changed with a throwing error that allowed a runner to advance from second base to third. Luckily that runner was stranded. In the ninth, Buxton again misplayed a ball that allowed the runner to advance from first to second with two out. That was also originally scored an error, but was updated to a double after the conclusion of the game.
Postgame With Rosario
Twins W-L Record
Overall: 54-56 (.491)
Last 10: 5-5 (.500)
Last 20: 8-12 (.400)
Last 40: 18-22 (.450)
Last 80: 38-42 (.475)
Here’s a look at the starting lineups from the past seven games:
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Tuesday: Twins (Adalberto Mejia) vs. Brewers (Matt Garza), 7:10 pm, CT
Old friend alert! After a couple of underwhelming and injury-riddled seasons, Garza is back to being an above average pitcher this year. He has a 3.68 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and hasn't given up more than two runs in five straight starts.
Mejia is having an encouraging rookie season, but he's going to need to start pitching deeper into games. In his 17 starts this year, he's thrown 100 pitches just three times and has gotten an out in the sixth inning in six of those starts.