Coming off their first losing week of the season, and the lead in the division down to seven and a half games over the Cleveland Indians, the Minnesota Twins were looking for a big win to start a new week tonight, and that is just what they got. After being held to just one run against Homer Baily and the Kansas City Royals their last time out, the bats bounced back scoring nine runs on fifteen hits against reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell.
Gibson: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 61.2% strikes (60 of 98 pitches)
Home Runs: Schoop (13), Garver (12)
Multi-Hit Games: Garver (3 for 5, HR); Rosario (4 for 5); Astudillo (3 for 4)
WPA of +0.1: Gibson .187, Rosario .117, Astudillo .111
WPA of -0.1: None
(Chart via FanGraphs)
After a 1-2-3 first inning, Eddie Rosario got the bats going to lead off the second when he pulled a two-strike curveball into right field and hustled his way into second for a double. After a flyout to centerfield by C.J. Cron and a groundout by Max Kepler, it looked like Rosario might get stranded on the bases. That is until La Tortuga stepped up and drove in Rosario on a first pitch infield single. In the top of the third, Willins Astudillo showed off his athleticism in right field, making this spectacular catch.
Jonathan Schoop leadoff the bottom of the third with an upper deck blast. Statcast projected the home run to travel 408 feet, with a 104.1 exit velocity and a 27-degree launch angle.
The Twins kept the bats rolling after that Schoop home run, with four of the next five hitters (Jorge Polanco, Mitch Garver, Eddied Rosario and C.J. Cron) all singling to drive in a couple more runs. The inning came to an end on a bad-luck double play, when Max Kepler lined out to Rays first baseman Ji-Man Choi with him practically standing on first, allowing Choi to easily double-off Cron.
After putting up three runs in the third inning, the Twins were able to blow the game open in the fourth with three more runs. Astudillo got the inning started with a double off the left-center field wall, and advanced to third on an infield single from Miguel Sano. Then, after a Schoop strikeout and a Polanco walk, both Astudillo and Sano came around to score on another single from Mitch Garver. Nelson Cruz reloaded the bases three pitches later with a single of his own, and that was the end of the night for Blake Snell. The Rays brought in Hunter Wood to try and get out of the inning, but it was more of the same as Rosario greeted him with an RBI single. The inning came to an end the next batter, with yet another inning ending double-play, this time by C.J. Cron. This closed the book on Snell, who gave up seven runs, all earned, on 11 hits in just 3 and 1/3 innings of work.
The Twins were able to score for the fourth inning in a row in the bottom of the fifth, but it came at a price, as Max Kepler had to leave the game after being struck on the elbow with a 95 MPH fastball. They are currently calling the injury a right-elbow contusion, so hopefully Kepler can avoid being added to the ever-growing list of Twins players on the injured list. Jake Cave came in to the game to pinch-run for Kepler, and later came around to score on a Jorge Polanco sac fly. In the inning, Astudillo picked up his third hit of the night.
Kyle Gibson was rolling along through the first five innings of the ballgame, and was on his way to an excellent bounce-back performances after a terrible start his last time out. Through that point, Gibson hadn’t allowed a run and had only given up one hit, while striking out four. However, Gibson started showing signs of cracking in the sixth when he gave up a leadoff home run to Willy Adames. Gibson was able to get through the inning without giving up any more runs and was looking sharp striking out both Avisail Garcia and Kevin Kiermaier to begin the seventh, before the wheels absolutely fell off the wagon. Gibson proceed to give up three runs on four straight hits, and the once insurmountable eight-run lead was trimmed to four. Gibson was able to finally get out of the inning by striking out Guillermo Heredia, which was Gibson’s seventh strikeout of the game.
Ryne Harper came out of the bullpen in the eighth, giving the Twins an easy 1-2-3 inning, which put a lot of people at ease. Mitch Garver was able to tack on an insurance run in the bottom of the inning, when he belted his 12th home run of the season over the left-center field fence. Rocco Baldelli called upon Tyler Duffey to get the final three outs of the game, and just like Harper, he worked a smooth 1-2-3 frame to seal the Twins victory.
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
Wed vs TB, 7:10 pm CT (Morton-Odorizzi)
Thu vs TB, 1:10 pm CT (TBD-Perez)
Fri at CHW, 7:10 pm CT (TBD-TBD)