Nelson Cruz and the Minnesota Twins continued their hitting hot-streak and jumped on Lucas Giolito and the White Sox. Jose Berrios finally got some run support and picked up his first win since June 6. Poppen put up two shutout innings as the Twins' bullpen gets another break.
Berrios: 7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 75.5% strikes (80 of 106 pitches)
Bullpen (Poppen): 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
Home Runs: Cruz 3 (25), Kepler (26), Sano (17)
Multi-Hit Games: Cruz (3-5, 3 HR), Sano (2-4, HR), Buxton (2-4, 2 2B)
Top 3 WPA: Berrios .111, Kepler .140, Cruz .377
Bottom 3 WPA: Buxton -.048, Garver -.040, Polanco -.034
Offense Continues to Thrive
Nelson Cruz has now homered in the last four games, and has seven home runs in the last six games. He came into tonight’s game with 382 home runs in his career, but did something for the first time in his career tonight. It came against the ace of the Sox as he faced him three times and hit three home runs. Giolito came into this game giving up only 10 home runs, but surrendered five to the league’s best home run hitting team.
His first home run was a solo shot and went 473 feet that set a record for the longest home run in Guaranteed Rate Stadium in the Statcast era. His second and third home runs traveled 433 and 430 feet, respectively, and came with a runner on. His home run distance added up to 1,336 total feet and all three balls went to three different spots on the field.
Max Kepler and Miguel Sano each got in on the home run fun by hitting two-run home runs of their own. Byron Buxton brought his energy back to the lineup by extending a single into a double and hitting a stand-up double in the eighth.
Berrios’ Quality Start
After seeing some of the worst pitching of the season throughout the last series, Jose Berrios came in and showed why he is the ace of this ball club. Though this long start was a night late, it still came at a good time as most of the bullpen was able to have another night off.
Though Berrios has been pitching outstanding this year, he hasn’t picked up a win since June 6 solely because of the lack of run support in those games. He had an ERA of 2.65 through seven starts in 44 2/3 innings. Tonight was no different from Berrios, but completely different from the offense.
Berrios was locked in tonight as he gave up only two earned runs, one unearned, through seven innings. He managed to strikeout eight batters, getting five on his four-seam fastball, two with his changeup, and only one on his dirty slider. He also was able to get 17 swinging strikes.
Poppen Continues AAA Success
During a series that no Twins’ pitcher cares to remember, there were three standouts, and all of them were in AAA before the series started. With the bullpen getting worked so much recently, another move happened before today’s game that brought up Sean Poppen for the second time this year.
After the three call-ups from last series gave up just two runs in 9 2/3 innings, Poppen continued their recent success tonight. In his first inning of work, Jose Abreu helped him out by not retouching second base on his way back to first after a fly ball and Rosario tossed it to Schoop to double him up. He then struck out James McCann to end the eighth.
He worked through an easy 1-2-3 ninth inning to finish the game and his second appearance of the year. He got a weak ground ball and struck out the final two batters with his slider.
Poppen’s stuff looked really good, but struggled with his control a little. His fastball has good movement on it and sits around 94-95 MPH and he really likes to use his sinker and sliders. They both have great movement and some White Sox hitters swung at some pitches in the other box.