SEATTLE 7, MINNESOTA 4 IN SEATTLE
Date: Sunday, May 19.
Batting stars: Jorge Polanco was 4-for-5. Luis Arraez was 1-for-2 with two walks.
Pitching star: Mike Morin pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit and striking out one.
Opposition stars: Edwin Encarnacion was 3-for-4 with a home run (his thirteenth) and a double, scoring twice and driving in three. Daniel Vogelbach was 2-for-3 with a home run (his thirteenth) and a walk, scoring twice. Domingo Santana was 2-for-4 with a double. J. P. Crawford was 2-for-4 with a double. Mitch Haniger was 1-for-3 with a two-run homers (his twelfth) and a walk, scoring twice. Yusei Kikuchi struck out six in six innings, giving up three runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks. Brandon Brennan struck out three in two perfect innings.
The game: There was no real threat to score until the third inning. Arraez had a one-out single, and with two down Polanco singled and Jonathan Schoop was hit by a pitch. C. J. Cron fanned, however, and the inning ended. The Mariners took a 1-0 lead in the fourth on back-to-back doubles by Encarnacion and Santana.
The Twins took the lead with three in the fifth. Walks to Arraez and Byron Buxton opened the inning. An infield single-plus-error by Polanco tied the score and put men on second and third. A ground out gave the Twins the lead and an error made it 3-1 Minnesota.
The lead didn't last long. Crawford led off the bottom of the fifth with a double. The next two batters were retired, but back-to-back home runs by Haniger and Vogelbach put Seattle up 4-3. It stayed there until the seventh. With two out, reliever Trevor May walked Haniger and Vogelbach and Encarnacion delivered a three-run homer that effectively ended the game.
To the Twins' credit, they didn't quit. In the ninth, Ehire Adrianza got a one-out single and Arraez walked. Polanco got a two-out single to cut the lead to 7-4 and bring the tying run up to bat. Schoop hit a long fly to right-center, but it was caught and that literally ended the game.
WP: Kikuchi (3-1). LP: Kyle Gibson (4-2). S: None.
Notes: Schoop was the DH, with Arraez making the first start of his major league career at second base. Adrianza was in right field, with Max Kepler on the bench. Willians Astudillo was the day's catcher.
Arraez is batting .500. Polanco is up to .343. Morin now has an ERA of 1.29.
In two games, Arraez is 2-for-4 with a double and two walks. Two games don't mean much, but it's nice to see him get off to a good start.
The only reasons I can think of for why you'd put Adrianza in right field are a) you really want to give both Kepler and Marwin Gonzalez a day off b) you just want to see if Adrianza can play there. I know Adrianza has been doing better lately, but I can't see any other reason why you'd put him in right field when he's never played there before.
Gibson pitched pretty well except for the fifth inning, which means he didn't pitch very well. I don't mean to overstate that--he wasn't terrible--but still, his line was six innings, four runs, nine hits. He didn't walk anyone and did strike out six. It seems to me that every once in a while he simply loses command of his pitches, leading either to walks or pitches over the center of the plate. I assume he slips into some sort of flaw in his delivery, although I have no idea what the flaw might be.
Part of me says the Twins let a winnable game get away yesterday. Another part says, well, you can't win them all, and taking three out of four from the Mariners in Seattle is still pretty good. As was pointed out in the game log, the Mariners are not as bad as the Twins made them look in the first three games of the series. Plus, Kikuchi has been pitching pretty well. The Twins aren't the first team he's shut down, and they probably won't be the last. So, I think we just let this one go and move on.
Record: The Twins are 30-16, first in the American League Central, 4.5 games ahead of Cleveland.
Projected record: We'll just have to settle for 146-16!