MIN 8, KC 7: Losing Streak Snapped Again
Image courtesy of © Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY SportsBox Score
Perez: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 60.8% strikes (48 of 79 pitches)
Bullpen: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
Home Runs: Cron (16), Sano (8)
Multi-Hit Games: Rosario (3-for-5), Kepler (2-for-5), Polanco (2-for-5), Schoop (2-for-4)
WPA of +0.1: Rogers .451, Rosario .321, Kepler .205, Schoop .101
WPA of -0.1: Perez -.411
(chart via FanGraphs)
Not Exactly How You Draw It Up
Minnesota was trailing 3-1 when the fifth inning began. Their lone run came courtesy of a solo home run from C.J. Cron to lead off the second inning.
Jonathan Schoop lead off the fifth inning and must have been listening to the FSN broadcast saying “just get on base”, because he did just that when he reached first on a slow roller to shortstop for an infield single. After two quick outs from Polanco and Kepler it looked like Minnesota was going to waste another leadoff base runner. Nelson Cruz and Eddie Rosario had other ideas, however.
Cruz drew a walk and set the table for Eddie Rosario with runners on first and second and two outs. Rosie responded by ripping a line drive single to right field, scoring Schoop. Eddie then stole second base and a poor throw from the Kansas City catcher allowed Cruz to scamper home from third and tie the game at 3-3.
Martin Perez (Almost) Settles In
The first inning of the game was a weird one for Martin Perez and the Minnesota Twins. In the top half of the inning, Minnesota repeatedly squared up the ball but didn’t have anything to show for it.
The bottom half of the inning was equally frustrating. Martin Perez issued two walks, Jorge Polanco committed an error and a couple of weakly hit singles allowed Kansas City to score three runs.
After the first inning, Marin Perez settled in and pitched very well. He retired eight consecutive batters before Terrence Gore reached on a bunt single in the fourth inning. Perez quickly rebounded and induced a weak fly ball from Billy Hamilton to end the inning.
The bottom half of the fifth inning was a rough one for Perez. After issuing a lead off walk and hitting the next batter it looked like he was on the verge of wiggling out of the jam. He recorded his first two strikeouts of the night and he needed to retire Cheslor Cuthbert to end the inning. Unfortunately he threw a cutter that didn’t cut and Cuthbert made him pay, launching a three-run blast to left field and giving Kansas City a 6-3 lead.
Better Late Than Never
The powerful and potent Minnesota offense we have enjoyed for much of the season appeared to have been missing in their last few games. In the later innings of tonight’s game, the bats woke up — thank you, Jobu.
Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco led off the seventh inning with soft line drives to center field. A wild pitch advanced both runners, bringing Nelson Cruz up with runners on second and third and nobody out. Cruz quickly found himself in an 0-2 hole but battled back to a full count and laced a hard-hit ground ball down the first base line, scoring both runners and cutting the Kansas City lead to only one run.
The eighth inning was also another strong offensive inning for Minnesota. Sano got the inning started with a home run (see next paragraph), but the Twins did not stop there.
Mitch Garver was used as a pinch-hitter for Jake Cave to face the left-handed pitcher, Jake Diekman. Mitch drew a walk and Astudillo was brought in to pinch-run, which is as funny as it sounds. Schoop reached with a single and Max Kepler followed up with a single of his own, scoring Astudillo and giving Minnesota the lead.
After two botched contact plays the inning looked to be in jeopardy with two outs. That was until Eddie Rosario came through with the clutch RBI single and extended the lead to 8-6.
Miguel Sano Continues to Struggle (Sorta)
Miguel Sano has always been strikeout prone, that’s nothing new. When he first arrived back in the big leagues this year he was striking out but still hitting the ball with authority. Lately it’s been a whole lot of striking out and nothing else - 14 strikeouts in 23 at-bats
Tonight’s game was no different for Sano. He picked up another hat-trick by striking out in his first three at-bats. One of which came in a key run-scoring opportunity in the second inning.
All of that would change for Sano in the eighth inning. After falling behind, he was able to work the count full and hit an absolute rocket to right center. A solo home run to tie the game at 6-6.
He would strike out again, for the fourth time, in his final at-bat. Overall, Sano was 1-5 with four Ks and a home run.
Taylor Rogers Slams The Door
Ryne Harper was brought in to pitch the eighth but was quickly pulled after giving up a home run and a single without recording an out. Taylor Rogers was called upon to record a six-out save. Rogers wasted no time, retiring the next three batters in order and ending the Kansas City rally in the eighth inning.
The ninth inning was another stellar one for Rogers. An error by Austidillo in right field put a runner on with only one out but Rogers caught a line drive off the bat of Nicky Lopez and quickly doubled off Merrifield to end the game and earn the save.
Postgame With Baldelli
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
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