MIN 8, CHC 1: Big Inning Sparks Twins Win
Image courtesy of Chart via FanGraphsBox Score
Pineda: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
Home Runs: Rosario (12), Sanó (13), Donaldson (6)
Top 3 WPA: Rosario .196, Pineda .180, Sanó .093
*win probability chart above (via FanGraphs)
Your Minnesota Twins are going back to the postseason after an 8-1 win over the Cubs Saturday.
Michael Pineda started and gave the Twins five strong innings, allowing only four hits and one run with no walks. Pineda struggled with his command early but was helped by stellar plays from his defense. Ehire Adrianza, with two outs and runners on second and third in the second inning, threw out Nico Hoerner on a bunt attempt. The Cubs got a hit-by-pitch, a single and a double but were only able to score one run in the frame. Pineda now has a 3.18 ERA through four starts.
Eddie Rosario got the offense going with a solo blast in the first inning.
With a 1-0 Cubs victory last night, the two teams combined to score three runs through the first 14 innings of the series. Recognizing this, manager Rocco Baldelli pulled strings to manufacture a run following a leadoff walk from Alex Avila in the sixth. Avila moved to second on a swinging bunt from LaMonte Wade Jr., who squared up to actually bunt on the first pitch, fouling it off. With both Ryan Jeffers and Mitch Garver available to catch, Baldelli sent out Cave to pinch run for Avila. It paid off.
Seemingly to Pineda’s dismay, the Twins opted to hand Tyler Duffey the ball for the sixth with a 2-1 lead. He pitched a tidy 1-2-3 frame, dicing up the heart of the Cubs’ order in Anthony Rizzo, Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber.
Then came the boom. Leading off the seventh, Miguel Sanó hit a ball to Waveland Avenue.
Max Kepler followed up the homer with a double into the Ivy in left field. The Twins then went single, hit-by-pitch, fielder’s choice (no out), single, flyout, single for four more runs. Perhaps the most encouraging, Mitch Garver pinch hit with the bases loaded and ripped a full count liner to left to score two runs. The Twins opened up a 7-1 lead, pounding the Cubs away.
Matt Wisler threw two outstanding innings, striking out six and allowing just a single. Wisler, who was acquired this offseason off waivers, brought his season ERA down to 1.11. What a find.
Josh Donaldson blasted an opposite field home run in the ninth to up his OPS to .863 on the year.
The Twins played a strong all-around game, flashing their much-improved defense and getting clutch hits. They’ll go for the series tomorrow night against Yu Darvish, who owns a sterling 1.86 ERA.
Ticket = punched.
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