The Atlanta Braves got going right where they left off last night and hammered Perez early. For the second straight game, the Twins offense was silent through five innings, this time Fried was striking out batters left and right. They awoke in the sixth, and tried another comeback in the ninth, but it wasn’t enough as they drop the series and are in trouble to be up just two games before their series against the Indians.
Image courtesy of FanGraphs
Perez: 6 IP, 11 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 65.9% strikes (67 of 102 pitches)
Bullpen: 3 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
Home Runs: Sano (20)
Multi-Hit Games: Rosario (2-for-5), Sano (2-for-5, HR), Cron (2-for-4), Cave (2-for-4, 2 2B)
Bottom 3 WPA: Rosario -.049, Schoop -.085, Perez -.321
Braves Ready For Perez
The Atlanta Braves came out swinging early today and jumped all over Martin Perez for another rough start by Perez’s. Perez has been the Twins’ worst starter for quite some time now. Since May 30th, 11 starts, he holds a 6.21 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP. Today was no different for him.
After getting Ronald Acuna Jr. to fly out to start the game, Albies and Freeman went back-to-back, while both only seeing one pitch. The inning wasn’t over as the Braves put together a 2-out rally with a single and double scoring another run. The home runs and double were all on fastballs left right over the heart of the plate, and Perez paid.
After a quick 1-2-3 in the second, the deficit got worse in an ugly third inning that ended featuring the only Twins highlight thus far. The ugly inning went single, single, walk, passed ball to score one, error, RBI single, and a walk to bring in a run. All of this was done with no outs, but what better way to get out of an inning then getting three outs in one pitch.
For the second time in just over two weeks, the Twins turned a triple play and both were behind Perez. Last time it was Arraez-Schoop-Sano, and today it started with Sano going to Schoop and ending it with Cron at first. This was the fifth time in franchise history to turn two triple plays in the same season.
Perez was able to settle down after that triple play and gave up one run in his next three innings. Perez had two very bad innings, but was able to stay in the game and give the Twins six innings to allow the bullpen to do less work than seemed likely after the first inning.
Fried Fires Through Twins
Max Fried was red hot to start off this game, and gave the Twins offense a lot of trouble through his first five innings. After the first time through the order, Fried was perfect while striking out seven of the nine batters he faced. Jeremie Rehak was the home plate umpire and had a lot of questionable calls that had the whole Twins dugout in a frenzy and Marwin Gonzalez smashing his helmet into the ground following a strikeout.
The Twins got their first hit to start the fourth inning which was a double, and later had runners on second and third with two outs. Miguel Sano drilled a liner to center field that was caught to end the Twins threat. The next inning the Twins had another second and third, this time with only one out, but Fried picked up a huge strikeout on Schoop and then Graver flew out to end the threat again.
Through five innings, Fried had given up just three hits while striking out a season-high 10 batters, but much like last night, the Twins woke up in the sixth inning. The Twins put three singles together and Fried’s day was over. Fried ended up being responsible for the three runs that were ultimately scored that inning.
Twins Comeback Falls Short
The Twins, just like last night, were dead through the first five innings, but in the sixth inning they came alive to make things interesting. Tonight it was four singles and a double in the sixth to score three runs and trim the lead to four. Unlike last night, the Twins couldn’t use the momentum to get closer.
Ronald Acuna Jr. put the finishing touches for the Braves this series as he hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning to put them back in front by six runs. The Twins stranded runners on second and third in back-to-back-to-back innings, though the third time was after they scored three runs. The Braves added two more runs in the ninth to really put the game away.
The Twins put together three more singles in the ninth to score another run and a Miguel Sano three-run home run brought the deficit down to just four.
The Twins will face the Cleveland Indians tomorrow for a four-game series that will be huge in terms of standings. The Indians won game one today and if they win game two, they will be just two games back of the Twins.
Though the starters got hammered these past two games, Zack Litell, Cody Stashak, and Kohl Stewart gave the Twins quality innings in the bullpen so the Twins’ top guys could have some time off for this huge series.