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Twins 3, White Sox 2: Pineda, Buxton Shine in Return | Twins Daily

The Twins were in desperate need of a boost, and tonight they got one. Michael Pineda delivered a quality start in his first outing in nearly a year while Buxton robbed a homer and drove in the go-ahead run in his return from the Injured List.

Box Score

Pineda: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K

Home Runs: None

Win Probability Chart (via Baseball Savant):

Michael Pineda’s first start back from his seemingly never-ending suspension got off to a rocky beginning. After allowing a couple singles, Pineda gave up a two-out double to Eloy Jimenez, and before you know it the White Sox has a quick 2-0 lead. After that Pineda settled in nicely, as he faced the minimum over the next three innings. He got himself into a two-out jam in the fifth, as he loaded the bases after retiring the first two batters of the inning. Fortunately, Pineda was able to get the hottest hitter on the planet in Jose Abreu to hit a squibber to Miguel Sano at first to end the inning. Edwin Encarnacion got ahold of one to leadoff the sixth, but Byron Buxton was there to save the day with this incredible (for all human beings not named Byron Buxton) catch.

In total, Pineda had a strong return to the mound for the Twins. He went six strong innings, allowing just the two runs that he gave up in the first. He gave up six hits and a walk, while striking out four. While Pineda reportedly was ramped up to throw more pitches, Rocco Baldelli pulled him after just 81 pitches, though that was probably situational more than anything else.

The Twins' bats were silent through the early innings of the game. They got a two out rally together in the third, but failed to cash in on two-out hits from Jorge Polanco and Nelson Cruz. It took until the fifth for the Twins to finally break through, thanks in part to a drop from Jose Abreu at first, which if it had been caught would have likely been an inning ending double-play.

Rocco Baldelli pulled all the right strings in the sixth to help the Twins tie the game back up at two. After a Byron Buxton pop out to leadoff the inning, Baldelli had Jake Cave pinch-hit for Ildemaro Vargas, and Cave promptly rewarded that decision with a one-out triple. Baldelli went back into the well for the next at-bat, having Luis Arraez pinch-hit for Ryan Jeffers in the nine hole. On the first pitch of the at-bat Arraez drilled a ground ball down the first base line, past Jose Abreu, and into the outfield for a game-tying double.

Caleb Thielbar had another impressive relief appearance in the seventh inning for the Twins. After giving up a couple runs in the third inning of his return to the majors, Thielbar has had eight consecutive scoreless outings, including tonight. Thielbar has been dominate in those outings, striking out 12 while allowing just four hits and one walk across 8 and 1/3 innings.

After scoring single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, the Twins added another in the seventh to take a 3-2 lead. Nelson Cruz doubled to start the inning, which was Cruz’s third hit of the game and fourth time reaching base safely. Then, after a pitching change, Marwin Gonzalez drew a gritty walk to give the Twins first and second with nobody out. After Eddie Rosario and Ehire Adrianza both failed to advance the runners, it was Byron Buxton who came up clutch, in his return to the lineup, with a two-out single.

Sergio Romo had another 1-2-3 inning tonight, showing that he has put his blow-up outing in Cleveland in the rearview mirror. Romo had a minor injury scare in the inning, that was reminiscent of the leg issues he was going through at the end of last season. In the end, Romo appeared to be fine, as he stayed in the game and finished off the inning.

After much of the bullpen got used up in last night’s ballgame, it was Matt Wisler who was called upon to close the game out in the ninth. Much like he has been all season, Wisler was very impressive. Firs, he needed some help from his defense, as Ehire Andrianza made a diving play to take away a double from Eloy Jimenez, that was completed by a great pick from Miguel Sano at first. Then Wisler struck out both Luis Robert and Nomar Mazara with his trusty slider to finally put an end to the Twins six-game losing streak.

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

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