MIN 7, SEA 1: Venezuelan Night in Seattle
Image courtesy of © Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY SportsBox Score
Pérez: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 7 K, 62.1% strikes (64 of 104 pitches)
Home Runs: Adrianza (3)
Multi-Hit Games: Gonzalez (2-for-5), Kepler (2-for-4, 3 RBI), Adrianza (2-for-3, HR, 2 RBI)
WPA of +0.1: Pérez .230, Adrianza .140, Kepler .111
WPA of -0.1: None
(chart via FanGraphs)
Minnesota came into this game with the third-highest batting average (.278) and OPS (.847) against lefties. The Mariners brought in southpaw Marco Gonzales to face them. You can imagine what happened. Twins hitters feasted on the opposing starter, scoring six runs against him (five earned) on eight hits.
Martín Pérez looked very sharp in his first game after taking a line drive off the foot against Detroit. He pitched his fifth quality start and keeps making his case to win the Comeback Player of the Year. His ERA now drops to 2.89 overall and 1.35 in the month of May. Fellow Venezuelan Marwin Gonzalez had a two-hit night, also maintaining great numbers in May. He’s now batting .339 this month. Ehire Adrianza had himself a night with his second multi-hit, multi-RBI game of the year. He is now batting .368 in the last eight games.
Story of the Game
After Gonzales retired all batters in the top of the first inning, Pérez got into trouble early. He gave up a walk to right fielder Mitch Haniger, followed by a ground-rule double to DH Edwin Encarnación, but he went on to strike out the next two opponents. Both starters pitched perfect innings in the second, with Pérez striking out other two batters, totaling four punch outs.
The Twins struck first in the top of the third, with Ehire Adrianza smashing the first pitch he saw and hitting his third home run of the year. That extended the Twins homer streak to twelve games. Jorge Polanco drew a walk later on, but he was stranded. Two Mariner hitters reached base in the bottom of the third — a single by Dee Gordon and a walk by Encarnación — but neither of them was able to score.
The Twins kept hitting the ball hard in the fourth, loading the bases immediately with three consecutive singles. They came from the bats of Gonzalez, C.J. Cron and Willians Astudillo. Max Kepler hit yet another single, the fourth consecutive, to bring home “Margo” and to make it 2-0 Twins. Another run came in later on with Adrianza hitting a sac fly to earn his second RBI of the night and to extend the Twins lead to three. In the bottom part, Pérez had no problems in pitching another 1-2-3 inning, including his fifth strikeout.
The slug fest continued, as Polanco led off the fifth with a single and Gonzalez got his second one (continuing his incredible month of May performance). Cron followed them with a walk to load the bases again and Astudillo plated another run, hitting a sac fly. Domingo Santana's throw actually beat Polanco at the plate, but the catcher Tom Murphy couldn’t hold on to the ball. Kepler blew the game wide open with a sharp single, scoring two more runs and making it 6-0 Minnesota.
Pérez had a promising start of his fifth inning, striking out the first two batters he faced. But then he allowed three runners to reach, with a single from Gordon and a walk from Haniger, followed by an RBI-single from Encarnación, scoring Seattle’s first run of the night.
The Mariners activated their bullpen in the top of the sixth, bringing in their Austin Adams version and the rookie struck out the side in sixteen pitches. It was the first time since the second inning that Minnesota had no base runners. But Pérez was still red hot, getting three ground ball outs to end the inning quickly, earning him another quality start.
The Mariners’ Adams had another 1-2-3 inning in the top of the seventh, including another strikeout. Pérez came back to pitch the bottom part with 94 pitches. He gave up a lead off walk to Mallex Smith and saw Gordon make good contact in the following at-bat, but that ended in a double play with Gordon slipping out of the batter’s box. Pérez was taken out of the game, replaced by Matt Magill, who walked Haniger, but struck out Encarnación to end the inning.
Righty Matt Festa retired all batters in the top of the eight, including a strikeout against Miguel Sanó, which kept him hitless on the night. Magill did the same in eight pitches. In the ninth, Adrianza completed his great night by leading off the inning with a single and scoring the Twins’ seventh run of the night, after a double from Jonathan Schoop, who was having a quiet night until that moment. Mike Morin pitched a 1-2-3 ninth with only six pitches to end the game.
Postgame With Baldelli
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Next Three Games
Sat at SEA, 9:10 pm CT (Berrios-LeBlanc)
Sun at SEA, 3:10 pm CT (Gibson-Kikuchi)
Mon at LAA, 9:07 pm CT (TBD)
MIN 11, SEA 6: Total System Failure (for the Other Guys)
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