Milone again (naturally).
The offensive stars seem to have gotten most of the credit for the win. We'll get to them in a moment, but the biggest star of the game was Tommy Milone. Milone had been kind of struggling lately--not really getting blown out, but not really pitching well, either. He pitched well last night. Really well. Seven strikeouts in seven innings, three hits, no walks, and of course no runs. The White Sox never really even mounted much of a threat against him. It was his first really good game in nearly two months, and it came at a wonderful time. His pitching allowed the Twins to play with the lead for nearly the entire game despite the fact that they had only scored one run.
That one run came from the bat of Miguel Sano, who hit his fifteenth home run about four hundred forty feet to straight-away center field. I've been wondering how the Twins will react when Sano has a slump, but so far Sano has made that question irrelevant. In addition to fifteen homers, he's batting .296 and has an OPS of over a thousand in 51 games. No, he's not likely to do that for his entire career--even Harmon Killebrew didn't do that. But he's had 215 plate appearances, and he's not showing much sign of slowing down. The game log discussed how people stop what they're doing and pay attention when he comes to bat. It's been a while since we had a player like that. I don't even remember Mauer getting that treatment. The last player I really remember people doing that for was Kirby Puckett. It's a lot of fun to watch.
And of course, we need to mention Trevor Plouffe's two-run double in the seventh. The Twins had loaded the bases with none out. Then Jake Petricka struck out Dozier, Dan Jennings struck out Mauer, and Daniel Webb did not strikeout Plouffe. Plouffe delivered a double for two important insurance runs. Watching live, I thought it was a bad move to send Buxton home, but on the replay, I'm not a hundred percent sure he didn't sneak a hand in before he got tagged. In any event, had they held Buxton at third Sano would probably have been intentionally walked to bring up Hunter, so sending Buxton was probably a good gamble.
The bullpen did a fine job, too, with May and Jepsen retiring all six. I assume Perkins is still dealing with health issues. Jepsen has pitched very well, but I'd be surprised if he's truly replaced Perkins as closer based on the few games he's pitched. If Perkins can get healthy, it gives us three pretty good relief pitchers, which we haven't had for some time.
So the Twins go for the sweep at noon o'clock today. Kyle Gibson, who sometimes pitches pretty well, goes against Jeff Samardzija, who was a good pitcher until this year, when he hasn't been. He's made two good starts in his last nine. He's also leading the league in hits allowed and earned runs allowed, although that does has a sort of positive side, in that you have to stay in games to do that. The games of September 2 are completed, and we're only a game out of the wild card spot. That's pretty awesome. Let's cut it to a half game today! We're three game into our season-ending thirty-three game winning streak! We're still on track for 99-63!