Monday night was a bit of a come down to earth for the Minnesota Twins, who cruised their way to a four-game sweep against the Texas Rangers over the weekend. However, the Twins jumped right back on the gas pedal last night again, putting up 14 runs on 10 extra-base hits against the Chicago White Sox. In New York, the Mets took care of business, beating the Cleveland Indians by a score of 9 to 2, which helped the Twins extend their lead in the division back up to three games.
Pineda: 7 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 79.5% strikes (70 of 88 pitches)
Home Runs: Kepler (34), Cruz (33), Polanco (19)
Multi-Hit Games: Kepler (2 for 5, 2B, HR), Cruz (4 for 5, 3 2B, HR), Rosario (2 for 5)
WPA of +0.1: Cruz .347, Kepler .176
WPA of -0.1: None
The pitchers were in control of this game in its early stages, as they both breezed through the first couple of innings, facing just one more batter than the minimum between the two pitchers. However, that narrative took a 180 in the third inning, when both teams found their bats. In the top of the third, Michael Pineda was one out away from another quick inning, leaving just a runner on first. That all changed when Tim Anderson roped a double down the first-base line that ricocheted off the side wall, and away from Jake Cave, allowing Yolmer Sanchez to score from first. Jose Abreu followed that up with another third-inning home run, putting the White Sox 3-0.
Mitch Garver led off the bottom of the third with a double into the right-center field gap, for the Twins first baserunner of the game. Garver advanced to third on a Marwin Gonzalez groundout, but was still standing there with two outs, after Jake Cave struck out. No worries though, as Max Kepler, who was back in the lineup after missing last night’s game as a result of the heat exhaustion he suffered over the weekend in Texas, came through with a two-out, two-run home run to cut the White Sox lead down to one.
After a strong showing in his return from the injured list last night, Nelson Cruz showed everyone that the ruptured tendon in his left wrist wasn’t going to slow him down, as he took Reynaldo Lopez deep to left field, to tie the game at three.
After tying the game up in the bottom of the fourth, Nelson Cruz gave the Twins their first lead of the game, just an inning later. A lead they would not look back from. The inning didn’t look like it was going to be anything much after Mitch Garver and Marwin Gonzalez both grounded out to leadoff the inning. Jake Cave then followed that up with an opposite field single, extending his modest hit streak to eight games. Max Kepler then nubbed the ball two feet in front of home plate, but the inning was kept alive when Jose Abreu inexplicably missed the catch on the throw to first. Jorge Polanco kept the inning going when he was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Nelson Cruz, who promptly delivered with a two-run double off the wall in right. On the very next pitch, Eddie Rosario followed that up with a base hit, bringing in both Polanco and Cruz to extend the Twins lead to four.
Tim Anderson led off the top of the sixth inning with a home run, which was the fourth earned run allowed by Michael Pineda on the night. That marks just the second start for Pineda since the beginning of May, when he has allowed more than three earned runs.
The Twins busted the game wide open with a seven-run inning in the bottom of the eighth. The inning was highlighted by two doubles from Nelson Cruz, a bases clearing double from C.J. Cron, RBI-doubles from both Miguel Sano and Max Kepler, and a two-run home run by Jorge Polanco.