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MIN 5, CHW 1: Bullpen Shines as Twins Beat Giolito | Twins Daily

After a frustrating first two games in Chicago, the Twins managed to take a victory thanks to bombas and the bullpen. Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton and Miguel Sanó all hit home runs while the bullpen combined to throw 5 1/3 perfect innings after Jake Odorizzi’s early exit.

Box Score

Odorizzi: 3.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K

Home Runs: Rosario (11), Buxton (10), Sanó (12)

Top 3 WPA: Stashak .159, Buxton .125, Odorizzi .120

Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs):

Roster Shuffling

Before the game, the Twins optioned Randy Dobnak and Travis Blankenhorn in order to activate Jake Odorizzi and Alex Avila. The two newly-activated Twins served as the pitching battery in a game that pitted Odorizzi vs. Lucas Giolito. On top of being an enticing pitching matchup, “Odorizzi vs. Giolito” sounds like it could have been a scene in the Five Families War portion of “The Godfather'', but I digress. An untimely finger injury ultimately forced Odorizzi out of the game after allowing just one run in 3 2/3 innings.

Twins Get to Giolito Again

Coming into the game, the Twins had hit Lucas Giolito better than any other team, having scored 11 runs in just 8 2/3 innings against the Chicago ace, while other teams had combined for 15 runs in 51 2/3 innings. Giolio pitched better this evening than in his previous two outings against The Twins, but Minnesota continued to make solid contact when it counted, mashing two home runs against the big righty. Of the seven home runs Giolito has allowed this year, five have been hit by the Twins. Byron Buxton, whose homer gave the Twins a 3-0 lead has now slugged five home runs in his last eight games.

Bullpen Perfection

The Twins got much-needed, flawless outings from three members of their bullpen following the abbreviated start from Odorizzi. Cody Stashak and Tyler Duffey turned in shutout, multi-inning performances, combining for 4 1/3 innings pitched with four strikeouts and no baserunners allowed. Trevor May was handed the ninth inning and in an effort to one-up his teammates, struck out the side to close out the win.

Have a Game, Ump

I don’t think I’ve ever written this when recapping a baseball game before, but I have to give kudos to home plate umpire Nic Lentz who delivered one of the best umpired games I can remember watching. It may have only stood out because it was following his colleague Will Little’s horror show from the night before, but better late than never. Tip of the cap to you, Mr. Lentz.

Little last night:

Lentz tonight:

Division Race Tightens

With the victory, the Twins trimmed Chicago’s division lead to two games and improved their chances of winning the division to 33%, according to FiveThirtyEight. With Kenta Maeda taking the ball tomorrow afternoon, a series split is looking feasible and a week that began with some ominous signs is looking like it could turn around in a hurry.

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

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