MIN 9, HOU 8: Max to the Rescue!
Image courtesy of Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY SportsSnapshot (chart via FanGraphs)
Here’s the walk-off homer:
For a moment, it appeared the Twins were going to turn a game-ending double play in the top of the ninth. Instead, Brian Dozier’s throw sailed past Fernando Rodney, who was coming over to cover first base. The ball bounced into the stands allowing two runs to score, tying the game at 8-8.
And if we go back even earlier in this game, there was a point where it really seemed unlikely any ninth inning dramatics were going to place.
Lance McCullers Jr. had a shut out going through three innings, but he fell apart in the fourth and the Twins pounced. The inning opened with back-to-back four-pitch walks followed by Ehrie Adianza and Brian Dozier each delivering RBI singles.
McCullers has extreme reverse splits over his career (.754 OPS vs. RHB, .628 OPS vs. LHB), and entering this game left-handed hitters had only gone 3-for-19 against him in 2018 with all three hits being singles. Instead of going to the bullpen at that point, McCullers remained in the game to face a lefty-heavy portion of the Twins lineup.
Joe Mauer walked to load the bases, then McCullers threw Eddie Rosario five-straight knuckle curves, the last of which was tattooed into the gap for a bases-clearing triple.
Logan Morrison followed with an RBI single and Kepler blasted a two-run homer to cap off an eight-run inning for the Twins. I enjoy a good bat flip, but Kepler may start a new trend with this savage mic drop he did after destroying that pitch:
Pretty impressive display from that trio of left-handed swingers. Unfortunately, that big lead didn’t last long.
Up 8-1, Kyle Gibson came back out in the top of the fifth and did some unraveling himself. After striking out the leadoff man, Gibson gave up four straight hits. Trevor Hildenberger took over with one out and the bases loaded. He could not stop the bleeding. Houston tallied four runs in the fifth to pull back to within three runs of the Twins. They scored again in the sixth.
Things could've gotten worst if it hadn't have been for Addison Reed. Zach Duke came in for the seventh inning and walked the leadoff batter. He struck out the next hitter, but then hit a guy and issued another free pass to load the bases. Reed got a massive strikeout and then induced an inning ending fly out from George Springer. Reed also pitched a scoreless eighth inning.
All’s well that ends well, but there are a few guys who I’m sure will be offering to buy Kepler dinner tonight. This series figured to be a huge test for the Twins. I'd say they nailed it.
Postgame With Molitor
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Next Three Games
Thu vs. CHW 7:10 pm CT
Fri vs. CHW 7:10 pm CT
Sat vs. CHW 1:10 pm CT
Last Three Games
MIN 4, HOU 1: Odorizzi, Twins Battle Their Way to Victory
HOU 2, MIN 0: Failure to Launch
SEA 11, MIN 4: That Escalated Quickly
More From Twins Daily
Logan Morrison: Bad or Just Bad Luck?
Changing Timeline: Is It Time To Start Worrying About Santana?
The Twins Almanac for April 8–14
- Carole Keller, Dantes929, h2oface and 5 others like this