Max Kepler had himself quite the night, taking Indians All-Star pitcher Trevor Bauer deep three times in the Twins 5 to 4 win in Cleveland. Overall, Kepler finished the night going 4 for 4 with a walk, and out hitting the rest of the Twins team, who had just three hits, and equaling the number hits the Indians had on the night. After losing the first two games of the series, tonight felt like a big game for the Twins to keep the Indians from gaining any momentum as we head into the summer months. Sure an 8.5 game lead on the division is still pretty big, but 10.5 just feels so much bigger.
Berrios: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 69.2% strikes (74 of 107 pitches)
Home Runs: Kepler 3 (15)
Multi-Hit Games: Kepler (4 for 4, 3 HR, BB)
WPA of +0.1: Kepler .310; Berrios .229; Rogers .200
WPA of -0.1: Magill -.193
(Chart via FanGraphs)
Kepler got the scoring going on the second pitch of the game when he ended his 0-for-21 streak with a solo shot. This was the third time this season that Kepler hit a first inning leadoff homerun for the Twins.
Kepler added to the scoring again in the top of the third when he took Trevor Bauer deep for the second time tonight. This time it was on a two-strike slider after Kepler did a good job spoiling a couple good two-strike pitches from Bauer.
The Twins struck again in the top of the fifth after Kepler leadoff the inning with a walk. Jorge Polanco then grounded into a fielder’s choice before Mitch Garver drove him in from first with an RBI double. In the seventh Kepler struck again for his third home run of the game, giving the Twins a 5 to 1 lead.
For his second straight start Jose Berrios had a good outing to get the Twins back on their winning ways after a tough loss. Berrios absolutely shut down the Indians lineup for six plus innings tonight, but made just one mistake to Roberto Perez in the fifth inning that he drove over the wall in the right-centerfield gap. Berrios had the changeup working especially well, picking up four of his six strikeouts with it. Despite being over a hundred pitches through six innings, Rocco Baldelli left Berrios in to start the seventh. He did a good job getting Jose Ramirez to roll over on a changeup, but Jonathan Schoop bobbled the ball and Ramirez reached, ending the night for Berrios.
Matt Magill came in to relieve Berrios, hoping to bounce back from his terrible outing on Sunday in Tampa. Unfortunately that wasn’t to be, as he walked Jordan Luplow on four pitches and gave up an RBI single to Tyler Naquin, causing Baldelli to go back to the pen to get Trevor May to get out of the jam. May came in doing his part, allowing just one run to score, on a sac-fly from Roberto Perez, before getting Leoyns Martin and Francisco Lindor to get out of the jam.
Taylor Rogers came in to start the eighth inning and picked up a two inning save. Rogers looked unhittable getting each of the first five guys he faced out, three of which were via the strikeout. However, he made things interesting after he gave up a two-out home run to Oscar Mercado. Rogers shut the door on the Twins win on the next batter getting Roberto Perez to groundout.
Postgame with Baldelli
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Next Three Games
Fri at DET, 6:10 pm CT (TBD-Boyd)
Sat at DET, 3:10 pm CT (Gibson-TBD)
Sun at DET, 12:10 pm CT (Odorizzi-Carpenter)
CLE 9, MIN 7: Bullpen Crumbles on Night Kimbrel Signs With Cubs