Twins Game Recap (8/17): Twins Win Slugfest in Texas
Image courtesy of FanGraphsBox Score
Berrios: 4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 62.0% strikes (57 of 92 pitches)
Home Runs: Cron (20), Sano (23)
Multi-Hit Games: Kepler (2 for 5, BB), Sano (3 for 6, HR), Polanco (3 for 5, BB), Gonzalez (3 for 5), Cron (2 for 4, HR), Cave (3 for 5)
WPA of +0.1: Duffey .208, May .156, Gonzalez .151, Cron .139
WPA of -0.1: Berrios -.366,
It was a fast start for the Twins, who busted open the floodgates before the Rangers even came to the plate, scoring six, count’em six, runs in the top of the first inning. Max Kepler leadoff the inning with a groundout to Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor, but that was quickly followed by singles from Miguel Sano and Jorge Polanco. The inning looked like it was going to come to a quick end, however, when Eddie Rosario hit a groundball to Rangers first baseman Logan Forsythe. Forsythe went to second with the throw, getting Polanco, but the return throw was a little high, and deflected off the glove of Rangers pitcher Ariel Jurado, who was coving first on the play. With the extra life, the Twins took full advantage. Mitch Garver, Luis Arraez, and Marwin Gonzalez combined to go walk, single, double to bring the score to 4-0, Twins. C.J. Cron followed that up with his 20th home run of the season, tying the 1964 Twins for the team record, for the most players with 20 home runs in a season, at six.
Old friend Danny Santana answered back in the bottom of the first with a two-run home run of his own, cutting the Twins lead back down to four. Believe it or not, Santana has morphed himself into a whole new hitter in 2019, as he has already hit 21 home runs this season. For comparison, Santana hit just 38 home runs in the nine combined season he played for the Twins, and their minor league affiliates, between 2008 and 2016.
The Twins answered right back in the top of the second, adding a couple more runs, to extend their lead back up to six. With the top of the order leading off for the second straight inning, the Twins had three straight runners reach bases with nobody out. Eddie Rosario was able to drive in Kepler from third, with a sac-fly to Rangers center fielder Danny Santana. In the next at-bat, Mitch Garver was able to beat out a potential double-play ball, bringing in the Twins second run of the inning.
Unfortunately for the Twins, the Rangers were up to the tasks tonight, as they themselves, punched right back in the bottom of the second. Rougned Odor drew a leadoff walk, which set the table for a rough inning for Jose Berrios, and the Twins defense. Logan Forsythe followed up the Odor walk by drilling a groundball to third baseman Miguel Sano. Sano was unable to field the grounder, and the Rangers quickly had runners on second and third with nobody out. After a Isiah Kiner-Falefa RBI-single, a Jose Trevino strikeout out, and a Shin-Soo Choo RBI-groundout, Danny Santana connected on his second, two-run home run of the evening, off of Jose Berrios. Due to the Sano error, none of the four Ranger runs in the second inning were earned.
After a couple of loud innings to begin the ballgame, it was quiet for a couple innings, until the Twins were able to build on their lead in the fifth. With one out in the inning, the Twins were able to quickly load the bases for Max Kepler, who came through with an RBI-single. Unfortunately, that is all the Twins were able to get in the inning.
In the bottom of the inning, the Rangers yet again showed they were up for the fight. After Jose Berrios finally retired Danny Santana to start the inning, he gave up a pair of singles and a pair of walks. That closed the book on Berrios for the night, and Tyler Duffey was brought in to protect a the Twins two-run lead, with the bases loaded and just one out, and that is exactly what he did, striking out Logan Forsythe and getting Isiah Kiner-Falefa to flyout to end the inning.
There was some controversy from the Twins dugout in the top of the seventh inning. With one out, and nobody on, C.J. Cron hit a flyball down the right field line that was ruled foul, but upon further review, it appeared as though the ball was clearly fair. However, Rocco Baldelli was instructed not to challenge the call. This was a highly questionably call, not because it would have been an easy overturn, but because the game was in the seventh inning, so there was virtually no risk in challenging and getting the call wrong.
This all became a moot point, when the Twins were able to tack on insurance runs in the eighth and ninth innings, thanks to a Mitch Garver RBI-single in the eighth, and this Miguel Sano two-run home run in the ninth.
The bullpen was up to the task again tonight for the Twins, who pitch 4 and 2/3 scoreless innings. In addition to Tyler Duffey getting out of the jam earlier, Ryne Harper pitched a scoreless inning, Trevor May was dominant, pitching two perfect innings, and Zack Littell closed the door in the 9th.
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Next Three Games
Sun at TEX, 2:05 pm CT (Perez-Lynn)
Mon vs CHW, 7:10 pm CT (Nova-TBD)
Tues vs CHW, 7:10 pm CT (Lopez-TBD)
Twins Game Recap (8/16): Twins Prevail Behind Clutch Schoop HR, Great Bullpen Performance
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