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  • Twins 4, Orioles 3: Late Rally Leads to Second Straight Walkoff Win for the Twins


    Sherry Cerny

    The Orioles came into the game with an eleven-game losing streak at Target Field and left for the day with a twelve-game losing streak. But it is not as easy as it seems. The Twins waited until late in the game again before rallying for another walkoff win, their second in two days!

    Image courtesy of Jeffrey Becker USA Today July 2 2022

    Box Score
    SP: Sonny Gray 5 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 K (87 pitches, 53 strikes (61%))
    Home Runs:  Nick Gordon (4), Jorge Polanco (9)
    Top 3 WPA: Jorge Polanco (.354), Luis Arraez (.321), Jose Miranda (.179)

    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    image.png

    Sonny Gray made his first start since pitching coach Wes Johnson left the organization, and fans speculated as to how he would do without Johnson, whom he stated he was very close with. It did not take long to realize that Gray was not as sharp this game as he has been since returning from the Injured List. 

    Ryan Mountcastle has been a bit of trouble for the Twins this series and wasted no time hitting the first pitch from Gray, a slider, deep into leftfield for a double in the second inning. Tyler Nevin hit a two-seamer off of Gray deep into right field to score Mountcastle with the first run of the game.

    The Orioles only managed one run in the second, but Gray seemed to struggle to close out the inning, leaving with 34 pitches. 

    Both pitchers struggled with the strike zone with low strikeouts and high pitch counts. Gray struggled with his breaking ball as most of his pitches were just off the corner, newly-appointed pitching coach Pete Maki came to the mound after a home run in the third and a sac-fly in the fourth, to give Gray a pep talk. Gray managed to get out of the inning without giving up another run, but the Orioles posted their third straight one-run inning which put them up 3-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth.

    Gray took the mound in the fifth inning to this writer’s surprise. Also, as a surprise, Gray remembered who he is and what he is capable of as he blew through the fifth inning with eleven pitches, the lowest number of pitches he threw in an inning all day. His control and focus allowed the defense to be able to make plays, keeping the inning quick and scoreless. 

    Orioles starter Jordan Lyles found himself in jams the first four innings but managed to keep the Twins from scoring. Lyles found his stride and kept the Twins scoreless through the top of the seventh. The Twins were making contact with the ball, but as sharp as the hitting was, the Orioles defense was just as sharp. 

    It wasn’t until the seventh inning when Nick Gordon hit a bomb into the centerfield that the Twins got on the board prompting a pitching change for Baltimore. Dillon Tate closed out the inning, but not without Alex Kirilloff and Gary Sanchez making hard contact with the ball.  

    The Twins kept up the momentum in the eighth inning when Gio Urshela ripped a hit to right field for a single to start out the inning. In true Twins fashion, late in the game, Luis Arraez comes up to the plate and rips a ball into right field for his second double of the game with no outs, prompting another pitching change for Baltimore. Gilberto Celestino came on as a pinch-runner for Urshela and scored on a sacrifice fly from Carlos Correa. The inning ended with Max Kepler striking out, but another run on the board made it a one-run game. 

    Before we move to the ninth inning, it is important to note that Jharel Cotton replaced Gray in the sixth inning and tossed three scoreless innings. In fact, he gave up just one hit and kept the Twins in the ballgame. 

    Emilio Pagan, who has come under a lot of scrutiny over his past few games, came out for the ninth inning. He had command and pitched a perfect 1-2-3 inning. He needed just nine pitches (7 strikes) to close out the inning. It was something Twins fans haven't seen in what feels like a while. It was beautiful to watch. 

    One thing Twins fans are used to? Late-game rallies, and that is exactly what they did in the bottom of the ninth. Leading off the inning against talented closer Jorge Lopez, Jorge Polanco smashed a home run into centerfield to tie the game at three.

    Alex Kirilloff came up to bat with one out and doubled. It was followed quickly by a shattered-bat-single for Gary Sanchez into right field which advanced Kirilloff to third base.

    With runners on the corners and a tie game, there was only one out as Jose Miranda came up to bat. (Miranda entered the game at third base after Celestino pinch ran in the top of the inning)

    The cheering of the crowd was louder than the Baltimore announcers as Miranda walked off the Twins with a sharp single to the left field!! The Twins won with a walkoff off of a terrific closer for the second game in a row. It was Miranda's first walkoff of his career!

    What’s Next? 
    The Twins finish out their series with the Orioles tomorrow at 1:10pm before flying off to play the Texas Rangers where they will see old teammate Mitch Garver for the first time since the huge trade. 

    Pitching matchup tomorrow: 

    • Sunday 1:10 pm CST: Dustin Smeltzer (4-1, 2.86 ERA) vs RHP Tyler Wells (6-4, 3.23ERA) 

    Postgame Interview 

    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

     

      TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT
                 
    Minaya 0 30 0 27 0 57
    Moran 34 0 20 0 0 54
    Pagán 22 14 0 0 10 46
    Cotton 0 8 0 0 38 46
    Duffey 12 0 28 0 0 40
    Jax 21 16 0 0 0 37
    Duran 0 33 0 0 0 33
    Thielbar 10 11 0 12 0 33
     

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    Strange day.

    Twice Urshela and Piranha Luis opened the inning single-double, with Buxton, Correa and Kepler up next.  Only one run scored in total.  That miffed me at least as much as the relievers' meltdowns in Cleveland.

    Weirdly, after the first occurrence and after Gray had reached 80 pitches in four innings, I didn't feel a doomsday vibe.  I thought an improbable comeback was going to happen.  Maybe it was the beignet with powdered sugar I ate for breakfast.

    And so it happened.  But having two huge opportunities go to waste will more often than not lead to defeat.  Gotta get that fixed before Labor Day.

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    Felt like Lyles was kind of lucky all day and the Twins were too aggressive with two on and not outs and made outs on ball 4 a couple of times.  Lopez throws some really nasty stuff ball moves all over the the place but I guess I don't understand throwing that 99 MPH sinker right down the middle of plate.  There were better places to throw it and how does Miranda actually pull the ball on a 99 MPH pitch? 

    Strange but the Twins have been good against some of the best pitchers in baseball this year.  Glad they got it going in the 9th and got the win.  Cleveland has some easy games coming up.  

    Also I am always kind of low man on Gordon but if he is going to keep hitting HR's and be a very flexible defender he looks like a keeper.  

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    12 minutes ago, BH67 said:

    Strange day.

    Twice Urshela and Piranha Luis opened the inning single-double, with Buxton, Correa and Kepler up next.  Only one run scored in total.  That miffed me at least as much as the relievers' meltdowns in Cleveland.

    Weirdly, after the first occurrence and after Gray had reached 80 pitches in four innings, I didn't feel a doomsday vibe.  I thought an improbable comeback was going to happen.  Maybe it was the beignet with powdered sugar I ate for breakfast.

    And so it happened.  But having two huge opportunities go to waste will more often than not lead to defeat.  Gotta get that fixed before Labor Day.

    Had to look that up... beignet. Never had one but it sounds similar to something my mother used to make; pan fried dough smeared with butter, looked like a pancake, confectioner's sugar on top. But she called it "cat gut". She'd grown up poor on the wrong side of the tracks from Irish stock so we never pursued where the name came from. Afraid to find out I guess.

    Going north tomorrow with a planned stop at Tobie's Bakery. Gonna stock up on artery choking baked goods for the cabin. Mouth is already watering. Long as I'm there I'll see if they have any of those sissy beignets.

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    37 minutes ago, Dave The Dastardly said:

    Had to look that up... beignet. Never had one but it sounds similar to something my mother used to make; pan fried dough smeared with butter, looked like a pancake, confectioner's sugar on top. But she called it "cat gut". She'd grown up poor on the wrong side of the tracks from Irish stock so we never pursued where the name came from. Afraid to find out I guess.

    Going north tomorrow with a planned stop at Tobie's Bakery. Gonna stock up on artery choking baked goods for the cabin. Mouth is already watering. Long as I'm there I'll see if they have any of those sissy beignets.

    You had me at Tobie's.

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    Sometimes I need to be reminded that the baseball season truly is a marathon. Two days ago I would've sold the farm for a couple of relievers. Today we have a two game winning streak and I think we are still in first place. Gotta get those Spiders next time though. 

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    Great game, Gray was down from his last 7 inning wonder, but the Twins didn't give up & I'd thought we'd come back. They finally discovered long relief after 2 months lost. Cotton pitched where he belonged at long relief and did a fantastic job. 

    PR for Urshella is the kind of small ball we need to be playing. Gordon seemes to get that key hit when we really need it. Polanco's HR and Miranda's hit were hugh.

    If we continue this formula we'll win more games than we'll lose. Especially SP + long relief + short relief (not SP+ short relief+ short relief + short relief + short relief).

    GO TWINS !!!!!!!!!!

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    Jorge Lopez's first 32 appearances: 37 IP, 3 ER.

    His last two against the Twins: 1/3 IP, 4 ER.

    Based on his overall MLB career, it's quite possible Lopez isn't quite as good as his numbers this year suggest, but still a very impressive showing by the Twins lineup.

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    I kind of felt this earlier this year and now I'm more convinced it might be true. For all his "experience" I don't think Pagan is good at big situations.

    It seems like he was always trying to throw perfect pitches as a closer/set up guy. He's seemed to be way better at just attacking hitters and getting them out when he's been put in low leverage situations.

    It also just could be that he's not that great and it's just happened to have shown up in the worst possible situation. IDK

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    48 minutes ago, ashbury said:

    I may have missed this being mentioned elsewhere, but a source tells me that two walk-off losses followed by two walk-off wins has never happened before, at least in the American League.

    One of the things that I think is so cool about baseball is there are so many things that can happen, and something new can still happen even though the game has been played for over 150 years.

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    22 minutes ago, Mortimerkenny21 said:

    Exactly, didn't the Cardinals have 4 consecutive hitters hit 4 HR in a row, in the same inning. I guess that was a new record.

    The Twins did it back in the 60's.  And the fifth batter got booked because he hit a double that missed going out by a couple feet.

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    4 hours ago, Squirrel said:

    It totally was ... so you must have one for breakfast every morning to keep the streak going!

    To New Orleans I go to do my part!

     

    And I'll enjoy some jazz while I'm there for good measure.

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    2 hours ago, ashbury said:

    I may have missed this being mentioned elsewhere, but a source tells me that two walk-off losses followed by two walk-off wins has never happened before, at least in the American League.

    Should happy about this, or sad?

    I suppose I'll be sad then happy!

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    11 hours ago, Dave The Dastardly said:

    Had to look that up... beignet. Never had one but it sounds similar to something my mother used to make; pan fried dough smeared with butter, looked like a pancake, confectioner's sugar on top. But she called it "cat gut". She'd grown up poor on the wrong side of the tracks from Irish stock so we never pursued where the name came from. Afraid to find out I guess.

    Going north tomorrow with a planned stop at Tobie's Bakery. Gonna stock up on artery choking baked goods for the cabin. Mouth is already watering. Long as I'm there I'll see if they have any of those sissy beignets.

    If you’re looking for some donuts, stop by my church this morning. Mrs IT is on the nominating committee, and this week they are providing donuts from the local Amish bakery as a thanks for all the folks who volunteer over the course of the year. 

    (There may or may not be one missing from the 12 dozen that were in the car when I got up this morning.)

    446DE9E3-7138-4C0E-B3CF-F033EE5113AA.jpeg

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    11 hours ago, MMMordabito said:

    Dollars to Donuts someone on Orioles Daily "has had it and is absolutely done with Jorge Lopez."

    And that Brandon Hyde mismanaged the bullpen. 

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    A win is a win! Great to see that we are about 15 wins better than the same time last year. The hitting machine Arraez just keeps going. Gray is starting to feel like a pitcher that can consistently go through at least 5-6 innings and hopefully that will continue to be built upon. We are beginning to look like a team that lies dormant often for innings and then rises up and strikes like a snake or lightning bolt. It makes for a very tense watch as a fan.

    You must admit, this team has some grit. I am not a fan of our manager and the massive analytics approach. I believe we have to shore up the catching (defense, throws, batting) particularly from Jeffers and the obvious bullpen issues must be strengthened. We are hitting the hot months of the season, and this will test the rebound ability and stamina of this team. I am surprised more fans are not showing up at Target Field. We are in first and the weather has been superb for games.

    The race with Cleveland is going to be wild and a rollercoaster. The team seems to have great chemistry and genuinely seems to build off each other's talents.

    Keep it going Twins!

    Twins Geezer... out!

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    Good for Miranda, a win's a win.

    But am I the only one who's not impressed? The Twins have averaged 1.5 runs per game against one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball for 99% of this series. Jorge Lopez is in the midst of a rough patch and the Twins are just taking advantage of his collapse. Seriously, where's the hitting? Not scoring any runs with men on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out? Buxton and Correa failing to just hit a ground ball to the right side or a lazy sac fly? Strikeouts, weak contact, and bat ABs all day long. And it's not like the Twins were scoring double-digits the whole time in Cleveland, either.

    It's great to see these 9th inning wins, but the vast majority of this series has been borderline unwatchable. This team's offense is just so inconsistent as evidence by leading the league in being shut out.

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    3 hours ago, bighat said:

    Good for Miranda, a win's a win.

    But am I the only one who's not impressed? The Twins have averaged 1.5 runs per game against one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball for 99% of this series. Jorge Lopez is in the midst of a rough patch and the Twins are just taking advantage of his collapse. Seriously, where's the hitting? Not scoring any runs with men on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out? Buxton and Correa failing to just hit a ground ball to the right side or a lazy sac fly? Strikeouts, weak contact, and bat ABs all day long. And it's not like the Twins were scoring double-digits the whole time in Cleveland, either.

    It's great to see these 9th inning wins, but the vast majority of this series has been borderline unwatchable. This team's offense is just so inconsistent as evidence by leading the league in being shut out.

    I think you're selling the Orioles staff, and Jorge Lopez's performance for the season, short. They're not world beaters, but they're not the same Orioles pitching that we've seen the last handful of years. They've had the 11th best ERA in baseball since June 1. 15th best since May 1. So, again, not world beaters, but you're not talking about the 25th-30th worst staff either.

    And before Friday's game Jorge Lopez hadn't given up an earned run since May 19th. If that's "the midst of a rough patch" sign me up for a Twins bullpen rough patch! Before that he hadn't given up an earned run since April 13th. He'd given up 3 earned runs all season before Friday. He wasn't in the midst of anything but complete domination before Friday. His previous appearance was 1 inning with 3 Ks. 2 appearances before that was .2 innings with 2 Ks. 2 appearances before that was 1.1 innings 4 Ks. He's been unbelievable. He had a .78 ERA and hadn't allowed a homerun in 37 innings pitched this year before Buxton got him. It feels unnecessarily negative to spin this as him going through a rough patch and not giving the Twins credit when he'd given up fewer runs in 37 innings pitched this year than he did in .1 innings pitched against the Twins.

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