MINNESOTA 7, MILWAUKEE 5 IN MILWAUKEE
Date: Tuesday, August 13.
Batting stars: Marwin Gonzalez was 2-for-4 with a three-run homer (his fourteenth) and two runs. Eddie Rosario was 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, and two runs. Mitch Garver was 1-for-5 with a two-run homer, his twenty-second.
Pitching stars: Martin Perez pitched six innings, giving up an unearned run on six hits and four walks and striking out three. Tyler Duffey pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one. Sam Dyson pitched a perfect inning and struck out one. Sergio Romo pitched a scoreless inning.
Opposition stars: Yasmani Grandal was 2-for-4 with a three-run homer (his twentieth) and a walk. Manny Pina was 2-for-4 with a double and a hit-by-pitch. Keston Hiura was 2-for-4 with a walk.
The game: Each team missed chances early. The Brewers had men on first and third in each of the first two innings and did not score. The Twins put men on first and second with one out in the second and did not score. In the third, however, Max Kepler led off with a walk and Garver followed with a two-run homer. With one out, Rosario walked, went to third on a Miguel Sano single, and scored on a ground out to put the Twins up 3-0.
Milwaukee again put two men on in the third and did not score. They got on the board in the fourth, though. Hernan Perez got a one-out single. Chase Anderson's bunt should have resulted in an inning-ending double play, but an error instead put men on first and third with one out. A force out brought home a run, cutting the lead to 3-1. The Brewers again missed a chance in the fifth, as they failed to do anything with a leadoff double.
The Twins got an insurance run in the seventh, as Gonzalez singled, went to second on a wild pitch, and scored on Ehire Adrianza's pinch-hit double. It was 4-1 and looking good for the visitors. In the bottom of the seventh, however, Hiura led off with a single and scored on a Christian Yelich double. Catcher's interference put men on first and second and Grandal delivered a three-run homer, giving Milwaukee its first lead at 5-4. Suddenly, things weren't looking so good for the visitors after all.
But the Twins would not be denied. Rosario led off the eighth with a double and Sano walked. The next two batters went out, but Gonzalez came through with a three-run homer for the Twins, putting them up 7-5. Dyson and Romo came in to slam the door and make it a Minnesota victory.
WP: Duffey (2-1). LP: Drew Pomeranz (2-10). S: Romo (19).
Notes: It remained Kepler in center and Gonzalez in right, with Byron Buxton remaining out.
Luis Arraez was 1-for-3 with a walk and is batting .350.
Perez got through six innings and gave up just an unearned run. It wasn't pretty, as the Brewers had a threat in pretty much every inning. For the game, Milwaukee stranded twelve runners and went 1-for-12 with men in scoring position. It's hard to tell whether Perez actually pitched better or just got lucky. Whatever it was, though, we'll take it.
It may well be that this is well-known and I just missed it (I went to bed before the ninth), but I don't know why Romo was used to close the game rather than Taylor Rogers. I saw a game story that said Rogers was "apparently unavailable", but it didn't say why. It worked out, but the Twins definitely need a healthy Taylor Rogers coming down the stretch.
This felt like a really big win for the Twins. Yes, momentum is as good as the next day's starting pitcher, and if the Twins go on to lose five of the next six this game won't mean much of anything. But when the Twins lost the lead in the seventh, a lot of people (including me) thought, "Here we go again". Another winnable game lost. Another game blown by the bullpen. Couple that with Cleveland appearing to come back on Boston, and it looked like the Twins would lose yet another game in the standings. Instead, they gained a game and find themselves back in first place. Time will tell how big this game actually was, but it feels pretty big right now.
Record: The Twins are 72-47, first in the American League Central, a half game ahead of Cleveland.
Projected record: We're still on track for 115-47!