Timely offense overcomes iffy pitching, with lots of LOBs and homers, small-ball, you name it.
This one had early exits from both starters, weird two-out rallies (or meltdowns) that benefited both teams, plus steals, sacrifices, and enough delays to match an early-2000s ESPN broadcast. Inning-by-inning notes:
1: While the Twins have no place in the vaunted Air Bud franchise, we do get an “Air Jeff” here… after uber-prospect Bobby Witt Jr. singles off Bailey Ober with two outs, he bolts for second and Ryan Jeffers sends the throw attempt into very near-Earth orbit. W-Junior reaches third but doesn’t score.
Luis Arraez singles and Jorge Polanco launches a non-placido dong to right. After two outs, Gary Sanchez singles (huh?) and Trevor Larnach walks (you betcha). An Urshela named Gio logically scores Sanchez, and Nick Gordon scores Larnach. Jeffers walks (huh, again?) and Arraez strikes out, but still, ten guys bat! Four score! If you read the previous paragraph (and I won’t be mad if you didn’t), you’ll know that means Twins 4-0
2: Ober pitches a clean inning, striking out two with his changeup. (In two separate at-bats, not Bugs Bunny-style.) Brad Keller returns after throwing 33 pitches in that first inning (which tells you how quickly the non-walking Twins were swinging away). Radio mentions that Keller has four starts this season of 7 innings, so we’ll write off 1 as an anomaly. He notches two Ks of his own.
Max Kepler gets an infield single on a bouncer to Witt2 that’s originally ruled an out; when replay overturns it, the Target Field crowd is almost louder than during actual gameplay last inning. Is everybody late to the game, Dodgers fan-style, or are people THAT much in love with replay?
Viewing the replay, Gladden calls Witt2’s throw “some kind of metrics, I mean Matrix.” Because it’s a cool throw. You imagine Danny got the two mixed up because they both vaguely have to do with computers.
3: Ober gets into one-out trouble here with a Nicky Lopez single and hot grounder by Dickens hero Whit Merrifield that bounces off second base weirdly and allows Lopez to reach third. Witt2 triples with two outs, scoring both runners. Maybe he is good. Evil Dozier (real name: Hunter) scores Witt2.
All told, three runs scored with two outs, and 31 pitches for Ober of the Bailey. Meanwhile, the Twins go down on eight pitches. MIN 4-3
4: Danny Coulombe, fresh off the IL, replaces Ober. He goes single, walk, wild pitch, single, smashed lineout, stolen base*, walk
(* — I am so sick of the Twins’ run defense this year)
and here’s Trevor Megill, who calls himself Lil, but everyone knows him as GIDP, thank goodness.
Carlos Correa strokes Dong #3 of the season; decent small ball scores Polanco. This is gonna be a Night Of The Living Bullpen (and, don’t forget, the Twins have a rain-makeup doubleheader coming next week against Detroit). TC 6, KC 4
5: With all the justified hype over fireballer Jhoan Duran, let’s not forget “see if this guy could be any good” waiver pickup Megill. He can hit 97+, although he uses mostly sloooow curveballs to shut down the Royals this time.
There’s what seems to be like a “replay umpires in New York fell asleep” loooong delay. The Twins get nothing off reliever Gabe Speier, but I’ll take it to keep this game from lasting until June.
6: Megill still in; he goes single, walk, popup, GIDP. Again throwing an equal mix of slow benders and hot salty balls. Minnesota moves things along by getting nothing against Speier (too many “e”s) and a Dylan Coleman (not Dabney).
7: And here’s Witt2, AGAIN, homering off usually-dependable Joe “The” Smith. Smith scuffled in his last outing, too; I guess, strangeways, here we come. He walks Dozier and allows a fielder’s choice to MJ (not Jordan) Melendez. EXCEPT NOT. Because Kansas City lost the aforementioned long replay, they can’t challenge this “out” double-play call (MJ was actually safe). Smith then walks the struggling Carlos Santana, so Caleb Theilbar comes in to get British-named Ryan O’Hearn on a one-pitch popup.
Coleman commits an E-1 and is replaced, because YES MORE MIDINNING PITCHING CHANGES, JOY. Nick Gordon drops down a sac bunt, since the new hidden market inefficiency is deciding no metrics matter. (Or, sorry, no Matrix matter.)
Arraez draws a walk against Royals pitcher Collin Snyder, who seems determined to give this game his own extended cut. Correa steps in the box, steps out of the box, etc. etc. a few times before grounding out to end things here. As sandwiches mentioned earlier, “Are they secretly playing in New York?? This game is going to be pretty close to 4 hours at this rate.” Powder Blue 6, Navy Blue 5
8: Here’s Duran, so Save A Prayer that he pitches the ninth, too. A tight strike zone doesn’t help this cause, as Jhoan starts veering from barely-missing “balls” to actually missing ones. He gets out of it after a single and walk, but needs 19 pitches to do so.
His Dark Materials, Emilio Pagan, starts warming up. norff points out “THE CONTRACT HAS BEEN SIGNED” and SooFoo adds, “That should spur the bats into action.”
Spurs? Spurs? That’s so 1950s western, SooFoo. Let’s go early-1980s fantasy films, instead!
Polanco lines out to lead off, against someone called a Joel Payamps. Max Kepler treples off the right field wall. Gary Sanchez pops up, and Trevor Larnach is intentionally walked.
Then, on an 0-2 count, Urshela ANDYESS clashes like a titan with a hard RBI single. Nick “Flash” Gordon saves every one of us, every man every woman every child by doubling home all the runners. And, yes, Arraez knocks Gordon in, but I can’t think of any cheesy early-80s movie references about Luis Arraez. Split Zygotes 10, Inbred Genes 5
9: Indeed, it’s Pagan to the
pentagram mound, but not before young 10+ ERA Yennier Cano gives up a homer, walk, and run-scoring double. Pagan (who has a 2.30 ERA!!!) strikes out Nicky Lopez, and because the tying run was on deck, this is a “save.”
No duds (not really), Twins win!
Studs of the game: It’s Urshela in a Dr. No-doubter for that insurance run, and Gordon for piling on. We’ll give Larnach points, too, for his three walks (intentionals still count!) and Megill for being the best pitcher in either uniform tonight.
COTG goes to Mrmumph with “I cannot drink fast enough to balance the trend of this game.” I’d add while that this is not strictly true in all cases, it can result in recaps of sloppily-pitched games running almost 1200 rather silly words.
For tomorrow, it’ll be young Brady Singer (who’s been terrific in his two starts this season) against veteran Chris Archer (who’s been effective yet typically doesn’t go deep into games, keep an eye on that bullpen usage). Hope y’all can join the thread, I’ll be working, blah!