Second consecutive strong start by a rookie sends Twins to series win
Feels like 2019 all over again, doesn’t it?
Well, not exactly, but the Twins escaped with a 1-0 victory and a series win over the Mighty Whities. The story of the game is simple: Jorge Polanco continues to rake, and the Twins received their second fantastic start in 24 hours from a rookie starting pitcher. Oh, and the White Sox had their minds on serene Iowa cornfields, no doubt. That probably helped.
This game was a pitcher’s duel early, but not Lance Lynn vs. Bailey Ober as was expected. The White Sox pulled a fast one, bumping Lance Lynn to Thursday’s “Field of Dreams” game in Iowa and instead started Reynaldo Lopez.
Eloy Jimenez swatted the first hit of the game in the top of the second inning but was erased on an Adam Engel double-play comebacker to the mound. In the bottom of the frame, Luis Arraez golfed a double into the right-centerfield gap. He was advance to third on a Miguel Sano groundout, but Jake Cave popped out to short after a lengthy at-bat and Ryan Jeffers struck out to waste the scoring opportunity.
The Sox singled twice in the third but Ober struck out Andrew Vaughn with runners on the corners to get out of the two-out jam. Similarly, the Twins lost an opportunity later in the inning when Trevor Larnach walked and was picked off first base. Max Kepler walked on the very next pitch but was left at first when Brent Rooker went down swinging.
The Twins and White Sox traded squandered opportunities throughout the middle innings. The home team’s best opportunity to score was in the fifth inning, after Larnach singled and Andrelton Simmons walked and both players advanced on an errant pick-off attempt by Garrett Crochet. Alas, Max Kepler struck out with two runners in scoring position, and the game was scoreless heading to the sixth inning.
Ober gave up a leadoff hit to Jose Abreu before retiring Jimenez but was lifted in favor of Caleb Thielbar for the matchup against Brian Goodwin after the rookie had thrown 82 pitches. Thielbar struck out Goodwin and got Engel to pop out, and that was the end of the White Sox sixth inning.
With one out in the bottom of the frame, Jorge Polanco knocked a home run into the bullpen in left-center, and the Twins had the game’s first run.
In fact, the only other hit for the rest of the contest was Polanco’s: a two-out triple in the bottom of the eighth. Thielbar and former White Sox pitcher Juan Minaya had shut down the White Sox in the seventh and eighth innings, with Minaya striking out three of the four batters he faced. Another former White Sox pitcher, Alex Colomé, came in and recorded the save despite issuing a two-out walk.
- Polanco continues to look healthy and much more like his All-Star self from 2019. Through 10 games in August, he is slashing .289/.341/.842 with six home runs, a double, and a triple. Not bad.
- The Twins only had four hits, and two of them were from Polanco.
- Ober wasn’t exactly dominant, but 5 1⁄3 innings of scattering six hits and only one walk while striking out six batters is nothing to sneeze at. He continues to miss bats and now has 62 strikeouts over 57 2⁄3 innings this season.
- The bullpen combined to throw 3 2⁄3 innings of hitless ball, walking two and striking out four. Would have been nice to have this kind of performance in April, May, and June, huh?
- The Twins had two batters combine to go 0-for-7 with seven strikeouts. Whom, you ask? See: Duds.
- Jorge Polanco: 2-for-4, HR, 3B
- Bailey Ober: 5 1⁄3 IP, 0 R, 6 H, BB, 6 K
- Twins Bullpen: 3 2⁄3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 BB, 4 K
- Brent Rooker: 0-for-4, 4 K
- Ryan Jeffers: 0-for-3, 3 K