The Twins took the lead in the first inning when they scored two runs, all with two outs. Joe Mauer doubled. It was followed by a double by Miguel Sano. Next up, Max Kepler dropped a well-placed hit into the outfield grass to score Sano and give the Twins a 2-0 lead.
Joe Mauer, who had two hits and a couple of great defensive plays, said that getting early runs was important and Adalberto Mejia was terrific.
As he had in his previous outing, Mejia found a way to get out of some tough situations. A couple of times, two runners were on with less than two outs, and Mejia got an infield pop up or a strikeout.
In the top of the sixth with Miguel Sano on base, Max Kepler crushed a ball into the right field seats. Crushed is probably the right word. The exit velocity, per Baseball Savant, was hit at 108 mph at just a 17-degree angle and yet it still traveled 409 feet.
Manager Paul Molitor noted after the game that Mejia battled, but he and the offense allowed them to use their key bullpen arms (Duffey, Rogers, Kintzler):
That provided a little wiggle room, which was needed. Tyler Duffey loaded the bases with some control issues in the seventh inning, but Taylor Rogers came on and got a huge strikeout from Mitch Moreland. Rogers also threw a dominant eighth frame. Brandon Kintzler came in for the ninth inning. He gave up a double, but he got a great defensive play from Jorge Polanco for the second out. Xander Bogaerts struck out to end the game.
What was impressive about Adalberto Mejia, beyond his ability to work out of tough situations, was his pitch mix. It’s clear he’s got a long-term big league future because of it. Check out how well he mixed things up throughout his appearance in this game.
He threw a total of 54 fastballs, 27 sliders and 20 changeups. The fastball averaged 92 mph (with a max of 94.6 mph). His slider and changeup both averaged about 83 mph. It makes it really tough on a hitter.
Also impressive was his ability to throw all of his pitches from the same release point (or very close).
Wins at the top of the division. Losses at the bottom of the division. Three teams are now playing at least .500 baseball. Cleveland beat Texas 5-3. Kansas City beat Detroit 8-2, and Chicago lost to the Yankees.
Cleveland 41-36 .532
TWINS 40-36 .526
Kansas City 38-38 .500
Detroit 34-43 .442
Chicago 33-44 .429
It isn’t going to get any easier for the Twins. On Thursday at 6:10, it will be Kyle Gibson (4-5, 6.23 ERA) facing lefty David Price (2-2, 4.76 ERA).
It hasn’t always been pretty, but in his last six starts, Gibson is 3-1 with a 4.00 ERA. That includes a game in which he gave up six earned runs. In the other five starts, he’s given up three runs once and two or less four times. However, he was only able to go 4.2 innings in his most recent start due to pitch count.
Price has made five starts since returning from the disabled list with elbow issues. In his second start back, he gave up one run over seven innings. In four starts since then, he has given up 14 earned runs in 22 innings over four starts (5.73 ERA). But the Twins did struggle against two left-handers earlier in this series.
Hopefully Tom will be back to providing his great Game Recap work on Thursday. It’s been fun to do, and interesting to watch the game a little differently throughout.