SP: Devin Smeltzer 4 1/3 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 K (96 pitches, 62 strikes (64.5 strike %))
Home Runs: Byron Buxton (19)
Bottom 3 WPA: Devin Smeltzer -.406, Gilberto Celestino -.207, Carlos Correa -.103
After Buxton put the Twins up 1-0 in the top of the first, Arizona responded in the bottom of the inning.. Twins starter Devin Smeltzer allowed a lead-off single to D-Backs catcher Carson Kelly. One out later, Smeltzer met a new yet familiar foe; former Cleveland Guardian Jordan Luplow.
Prior to their first match-up for the evening, Luplow was 0-for-3 in his career against Smeltzer. That changed with one swing of the bat as Luplow connected with a Smeltzer fastball right down the middle for his eighth home run of the year putting the D-Backs up 2-1. Smeltzer retired the next two batters in the bottom of the first on groundouts, escaping further base runners.
In the top of the second, the Twins had two base runners reach thanks to a Max Kepler single and Buxton double. But again the Twins couldn’t get the runners home to retake their lead.
Once the top of the third came around, the Twins were finally able to capitalize on their runners. Gio Urshela led off the inning with a double and was able to advance to third on an Arraez single. Following Arraez was Miranda and he capitalized with an RBI single to score Urshela and tie the game at 2-2.
Just as it looked like the Twins were back in the game, Luplow had other plans. Up for his second at-bat and with two outs, Luplow hit another home run off of Smeltzer to give the Diamondbacks the lead once more.
With the score still 3-2 going into the bottom of the fourth the Diamondbacks were able to capitalize and run away with a lead, It all started with a leadoff walk to D-Backs designated hitter Bobby Kennedy. Following Kennedy, right fielder Alek Thomas hit a single, setting up the D-Backs for an opportunity to take the lead.
And take the lead the D-Backs did. In a bizarre outcome, Diamondbacks second baseman Jake Hager offered a sacrifice bunt that could have kept runners on second and third with one out for Smeltzer. Instead, Smeltzer threw the ball away at first resulting in an error that allowed both Kennedy and Thomas to score and extend Arizona’s lead to 5-2.
Hager was able to score later in the inning on a Carson Kelly single making the game 6-2 D-Backs, and as Jordan Luplow got to the plate for his third at-bat against Smeltzer. Twins fans wondered if Smeltzer could record the final out of the inning. Fortunately for Smeltzer, he was able to retire Luplow on a groundout to Urshela, but not without 4 runs, (3 earned) surrendered to the Diamondbacks.
Even after a rough fourth inning, Smeltzer returned to the mound to start the bottom of the fifth. But he would not find his way out of the inning as he surrendered two more hits, both singles, to Daulton Varsho and Kennedy. This ended Smeltzer's outing for the evening as Rocco Baldelli called on Tyler Thornburg to get the Twins out of the inning.
Thornburg got the Twins out of the inning but not before giving up another RBI single to Hager with the run charged to Smeltzer. As the Twins left the field in the bottom of the fifth, the Diamondbacks held a 7-2 lead against them.
The remainder of the game was uneventful for the Twins at the plate but Byron Buxton kept fans entertained with four of the top five exit velocities in the game. Although Buxton was 2-for-4 for the night, Star Tribune beat writer Phil Miller noted on Twitter that Buxton had four of the top five exit velocities in the game. Even topping Luplow’s second home run’s exit velocity.
The bullpen held together for the Twins following Smeltzer’s outing. Thornburg completed 2 2/3 innings allowing only one single after the fifth and allowed no further base runners or runs in his frame of work. In the bottom of the eighth, Tyler Duffey threw a 1, 2, 3 inning to keep the Diamondbacks lead at five runs.
The Twins had one last chance for runs in the bottom of the ninth but fell up short as Alex Kirilloff pinch hit in his return only to strike out. Trevor Larnach grounded out on a bouncer to third base, and Byron Buxton ended the game on a groundout to short, giving the D-Backs a 7-2 win over the Twins.
The Twins play a late one Saturday night with a 9:10 p.m. start for their second game against the Diamondbacks in the three-game series. Dylan Bundy will start for the Twins while Diamondbacks hurler Luke Weaver.