Starting Pitcher: Gant 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 7 K
Homeruns: Rooker (11)
Top 3 WPA: Gant .300, Simmons .135, Thielbar .098
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
The Twins looked to build on their Labor Day win over Cleveland on Tuesday. They sent John Gant to the mound to face Aaron Civale, who returned from the IL to provide a boost to a beleaguered Cleveland rotation. Here’s how the Twins lined up for the game.
Meanwhile through three innings, Civale showed no signs of rust. Other than giving up singles to Josh Donaldson and Miguel Sano, he looked highly effective. Civale worked consistently up in the strike zone, throwing a wide variety of breaking balls keeping Twins hitters off balance, and off the bases.
Gant returned for a more efficient and effective fourth inning. Despite walking three through four innings, Gant generated nine swings and misses and four strikeouts in as many innings. Is Gant working himself into consideration for a job with the Twins in 2022?
The deadlock was finally broken in the sixth inning. After Max Kepler drew a walk to lead off the inning, Andrelton Simmons singled up the middle to drive home Kepler, give the Twins a one to nothing lead, and force Civale from the game. A walk to Luis Arraez put runners on first and second with two out, but Byron Buxton flew out to shallow center field to end the inning one to nothing in favor of the Twins.
After walking the leadoff hitter in the fifth inning, Gant returned to strike out the side. He completed five inning, struck out seven batters, and generated twelve swings and misses. Despite walking four Cleveland hitters, Gant has improved noticeably in each of his starts with the Twins. Gant will be an interesting sub-plot to monitor in the remaining four weeks of the season.
Jorge Alcala relieved Gant in the sixth inning. He got Franmil Reyes swinging on a beautiful sinking fastball at 97mph. He followed up with back to back ground-outs, preserving the Twins one run lead heading to the seventh inning.
In the seventh inning, Brent Rooker crushed a home run to right center field to increase the lead to two. Juan Minaya pitched a scoreless bottom of the seventh, striking out two, to preserve the Twins lead.
An infield single and an Oscar Mercado double high off the left-field wall created a threat for Cleveland in the eighth inning. With runners on second and third and two out, Yu Chang struck out swinging to take the game to the ninth inning.
Luis Arraez tripled home Andrelton Simmons to extend the lead to three to nothing in the ninth. Alexander Colome entered to close the game for the Twins. Owen Miller grounded out, before Amed Rosario singled on a fly ball to center field. A Miles Straw flyout and a Bobby Bradley strikeout brought the Twins their third consecutive win.
Bullpen Usage Chart
On Wednesday, the Twins continue their series with Cleveland. Joe Ryan will take on Triston McKenzie. First pitch is at 5:10 CST.