MINNESOTA 15, TEXAS 6 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Friday, July 5.
Batting stars: Marwin Gonzalez was 3-for-4 with a double, a hit-by-pitch, two runs and two RBIs. Jonathan Schoop was 3-for-5 with a home run (his fourteenth), two doubles, two runs, and four RBIs. Mitch Garver was 2-for-4 with a home run (his thirteenth), a double, a walk, and three runs. Max Kepler was 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Jorge Polanco was 2-for-5 with a two-run homer, his thirteenth. Luis Arraez was 2-for-5 with a home run, his second. C. J. Cron was 2-for-5 with two doubles, two runs, and two RBIs. Byron Buxton was 2-for-5 with two doubles and two runs.
Pitching stars: Martin Perez pitched six innings, giving up four runs on seven hits and two walks and striking out three. Kohl Stewart retired all four men he faced.
Opposition stars: Logan Forsythe was 2-for-4 with a home run (his fourth) and two runs. Rougned Odor was 2-for-4 with a double. Delino DeShields was 2-for-4 with a double. Shin-Soo Choo was 1-for-5 with a two-run homer, his thirteenth.
The game: The Twins started the scoring in the second and did so in a big way. Garver led off with a double and scored on Gonzalez' single. A double play made it look like the scoring might end right there, but Arraez followed with a home run, Schoop and Buxton hit back-to-back doubles, Kepler singled, and Polanco hit a two-run homer. It was 6-0 and the Twins lead would never be threatened.
The Twins kept the scoring going. Buxton doubled with one out in the fourth and scored on a Kepler single. In the fifth Gonzalez was hit by a pitch and scored on Schoop's two-out two-run homer. It was 9-0 through six.
The Rangers tried to get back into the game in the seventh. Martin Perez, who had cruised through six innings, walked Nomar Mazara to open the seventh. Singles by Forsythe and Asdrubal Cabrera plated one run and Odor's RBI double made it 9-2. Ryne Harper came in and allowed a run-scoring ground out, then with two down gave up a homer to Choo, making the score 9-5.
No problem. Garver led off the bottom of the seventh with a home run. Gonzalez singled, Cron doubled, and Schoop delivered a two-out two-run double to make it 12-5. Forsythe homered in the eighth to cut the margin to 12-6, but the Twins added a few more in the bottom of the eighth. Miguel Sano singled, Garver walked, Gonzalez doubled home one and Cron doubled home two. Texas went down in order in the ninth.
WP: Perez (8-3). LP: Adrian Sampson (6-6). S: None.
Notes: Arraez was at third base in this game, with Gonzalez in left and Sano on the bench. Sano entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the fourth, as Nelson Cruz left the game. According to news reports, Cruz had discomfort in his foot because his shoe was too tight. I don't know why he couldn't simply put on a bigger shoe, but it obviously didn't matter for the outcome of the game.
Arraez actually lowered his average by going 2-for-5--he's now batting .413. Polanco went up to .314. Tyler Duffey gave up a run in two-thirds of an inning and has an ERA of 2.60.
As noted above, Perez pitched very well for six innings. In retrospect you can say he was left in the game too long, but his pitch count wasn't high and there were no obvious signs that he was tiring. Sometimes a guy just loses it quickly.
Stewart pitched the last 1.1 innings. It had been widely assumed that he was going to be Sunday's starter, but that seems very unlikely now. Maybe that never was the plan, or maybe Rocco thought it was better to save the rest of the bullpen now and figure something else out for Sunday. The pitcher who started in Rochester Tuesday, and so would be going on regular rest Sunday, was Devin Smeltzer. He did pretty well in his two earlier major league starts, so it would not be surprising to see him back for the Sunday start.
This was the kind of game we saw a lot the first couple of months of the season and haven't seen much lately. Will this be the start of a hot streak? The Twins had a game like this Saturday and we hoped it might be the start of a hot streak, but instead it was just a one-off. So I guess we'll see.
The win guarantees that the Twins will go into the all-star break not having more than a two-game losing streak. That's pretty remarkable.
Record: The Twins are 55-32, first in the American League Central, 6.5 games ahead of Cleveland.
Projected record: We're still on track for 130-32!