Berríos has a tough start, but finishes off strong
The game got busy in a hurry. Minnesota loaded the bases before Texas starter Mike Foltynewicz could record an out, with Luis Arráez and Trevor Larnach drawing walks, and Jorge Polanco hitting a single in between. Nelson Cruz took advantage of that, finding the right field gap on a 0-2 sinker, and to put the first run on the board.
The Texas just got sloppy and the Twins scored two more runs. Playing his first big league game in nearly three weeks, Max Kepler grounded to center and score Polanco, while the Rangers defense couldn’t turn in the double play. Then Foltynewicz had a wild throwing error which allowed Ryan Jeffers to reach safely an Larnach scored, making it 3-0 Minnesota very, very quickly.
José Berríos entered the game with a nice lead, but it didn’t last long. Isiah Kiner-Falefa hit a leadoff single, just before Berríos recorded two quick outs. But then he lost Joey Gallo on a four-pitch walk, and both runners scored on back-to-back singles. In the second inning, the Rangers’ batters drove Berríos’ pitch count through the roof with some quality at-bats. It took him 55 pitches to complete the first two innings of the game.
As the offense started to get quiet, José started to settle in, but not before he gave up back-to-back singles to leadoff the fourth inning, allowing Jose Trevino to tie the game on a sac-fly. But that was all the instability Berríos would have for the night, as he managed to get the final out in spite of a runner on third, and cruised through the fifth on only nine pitches. Of course, he got some hel from the offense, which provided him with a little more run support. Larnach destroyed this baseball and Minnesota regained the lead, 4-3.
At 92 pitches, Berríos was asked to come back to pitch the sixth, facing the bottom part of the Ranger lineup, and he managed to finish strong. Maintaining velocity and with no command issues whatsoever, José had yet another 1-2-3 inning, completing his quality start. He finished this game retiring seven batters in a row, with a total of 103 pitches (71 for strikes). Did he just increase his trade value or earned himself an even bigger paycheck to stay in Minnesota?
Alcalá gives up the lead, Rogers and Robles help take the game to extras
Twins’ bats struggled to get their momentum going for the better part of this game. After Larnach’s home run, nine consecutive Minnesota batters were retired. Jorge Alcalá took over in relief of Berríos, and after getting two outs on four pitches, he gave up a game-tying home run to Adolis García.
Fortunately, the Twins bullpen managed to limit the damage to that one run in regulation. Taylor Rogers and Hanel Robles came up big, pitching a couple of 1-2-3 innings to keep the game tied and take it to extras. Rogers keeps adding his impressive resumé, on his way to become one of the Twins greatest relievers.
Before regulation was done, in the top of the ninth, the offense threatened Texas’ star reliever Ian Kennedy. Alex Kirilloff made a mistake running the paths and got caught digging for second after Texas failed to turn in another double play. Had he been less aggressive, maybe he could’ve scored on Nick Gordon’s double that came immediately after his at-bat.
Texas’ bullpen blows up in the 10th (that’s right)
With Kennedy gone, Minnesota seized the opportunity and ambushed Josh Sborz. Arráez got behind in the count 0-2, but he jumped on the third pitch and ended up on third base, scoring Willians Astudillo, who started the innnig at second.
Sborz couldn’t handle the pressure. He walked Polanco, who later stole second. He decided to intentionally walk Cruz and loaded the bases with one out. He managed to get the second out by striking out Kepler, but then Jeffers and Kirilloff drew walks that added two more runs, putting the Twins up 7-4.
Tyler Duffey came in to close out the game and got himself in thin ice. Gallo scored the runner on second with a single and Nick Solak followed with another single, bringing the winning run to the plate with only one out. But he retired the last two batters to secure the win.
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