Shoemaker can’t benefit from the good defense behind him
Matt Shoemaker had another awful start. The long ball really hurt him, again, as he gave up three extra-base hits, including three home runs. This shouldn’t come as a great surprise, since opposing hitters are posting a .518 SLG against him this year, a career-worst.
He gave up a double during the first inning, but he went on to retire the next seven batters. Then Ramon Laureano hit a solo shot off of him in the third, to score the game’s first run. After going through the first two innings rather quietly, the offense immediately threatened, with Ben Rortvedt and Luis Arráez hitting back-to-back singles to open the bottom of the third. However, Minnesota was unable to capitalize.
A’s starter Frankie Montas managed to dominate the Twins’ bats, limiting them to three hits in the first five innings. If the offense couldn’t help Shoemaker much, the defense behind him surely did all they could:
But it wasn’t enough. Shoemaker gave up a leadoff walk in the fifth inning, which was followed by a two-run home run by catcher Sean Murphy. He then retired the next five batters, getting one out away from recording a quality start. But he walked Matt Champman in the sixth, before giving up a soul-crushing two-run, two-out home run, making it 5-0 Oakland. Shoemaker now accounts for ten of Minnesota’s league-worst 55 home runs allowed.
Seventh inning rally falls short, A’s homer again
Donaldson put the Twins on the board with a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the sixth, before Montas retired the side. Then, in the seventh, Willians Astudillo and Max Kepler renewed the hopes of Twins fans, when both of them reached to open the inning. Minnesota was one sing away from getting back in the game, but, again, they couldn’t capitalize. At this point, the Twins were 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position. Entering this game, Minnesota’s offense was posting a .652 OPS with men in scoring, one of their greatest struggles this season.
Making his fourth appearance of the season for the Twins, Derek Law took over in the seventh and pitched a clean, 1-2-3 inning, in which he threw only sliders. 13 of them. But Mark Canha ended his scoreless streak by hitting a leadoff home run to open the eighth, making it 6-1 Oakland. He took care of the remaining batters, only giving up a walk to Chapman. After his two innings pitched tonight, Law has the second-best ERA (3.60) among active Twins relievers. Caleb Thielbar pitched a clean ninth, but the offense was quiet again in the bottom of the inning and that was the game.
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