Kenta Maeda: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (64% strike percentage)
Homeruns: Buxton (11)
Top 3 WPA: Kepler (.143), Buxton (.127), Duffey (.123)
Win Probability Chart (via Fangraphs)
Maeda Regaining 2019 Form, Bullpen Locks Down the Win
Maeda battled through command issues early on to provide the Twins with five-and-a-third innings of three hit, zero run baseball on just 66 pitches while facing 19 batters. This was following his first start since returning from the Injured List where he went four innings giving up one run and striking out seven. Although today’s start was a step in the right direction, after getting his 16th out of the game he was set to face Aldonis García and Joey Gallo who I had thought might not get the opportunity to face them a third time…
That lead to back-to-back homeruns and the end of the day for Maeda.
Tyler Duffey relieved Maeda and continued his stellar June needing just 21 pitches to record the next five outs allowing just a walk as his lone flaw. Jorge Alcala came in to pitch the 8th inning against the middle of the Rangers line up and was able to shut them down allowing one hit and getting a big strikeout of Joey Gallo with the tying run on base. Hansel Robles came on in the 9th to earn his sixth save of the season in eight chances.
Newly Healthy Twins Lead the Offense
Luis Arraez and Byron Buxton got the Twins out to a 2-0 lead before Rangers righty, Dane Dunning, could even record an out.
Trevor Larnach and Nelson Cruz would follow up the 426 foot bomb with singles of their own before Alex Kirilloff would roll into a double play and Jorge Polanco would end the inning. Despite coming out on top, not taking advantage of base runners would be a theme of the day as they had 13 hits and left 21on-base going 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
In the third, the Twins took advantage of a Gallo error as a Max Kepler single, turned double, drove in Trevor Larnach and Polanco to give the Twins a 4-0 lead.
Arraez, Larnach, and Andrelton Simmons had three hits apiece, five of which were singles, upping their averages to .286, .267 and .249, respectively. Larnach continues to add to his Rookie of the Year resume, which our own Nash Walker laid out on Saturday
Polanco And Cruz added to the hit parade with a hit apiece, but just as the Twins get multiple starters back Cruz was pulled in lieu of Sanó after striking out in the top of third.
Hopefully it’ll be just a minor absence for Cruz as he is in the midst of a hot streak.
The Twins will come back home with a four-game winning streak, their longest of the season, and will host the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland for a six-game homestand starting tomorrow.