MINNESOTA 8, BALTIMORE 3 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Tuesday, July 7.
Batting stars: Kurt Suzuki was 3-for-4. Miguel Sano was 2-for-3 with a home run, a walk, and three RBIs. Joe Mauer was 2-for-4 with a walk and three runs.
Pitching stars: Kyle Gibson struck out seven in six innings, giving up two runs on six hits and a walk. Brian Duensing pitched a perfect inning, striking out one. Ryan O'Rourke pitched a perfect inning, striking out one.
Opposition stars: Adam Jones was 2-for-4 with two doubles. J. J. Hardy was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his fifth. Brad Brach pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up three hits and two walks and striking out two.
The game: The Orioles put men on second and third with one out in the first inning but did not score. It was the last time they were in the game.
In the bottom of the first Mauer hit a one-out single, took second on a wild pitch, and scored on a Trevor Plouffe double. Sano followed with his first major league home run to put the Twins ahead 3-0. In the third Mauer again singled, again took second on a wild pitch, went to third on a ground out, and scored on a strikeout/passed ball (Twins baseball!) to make it 4-0. The Twins put it away in the fourth. Aaron Hicks led off with a double and Suzuki singled. A sacrifice fly scored a run; with a man on third Mauer was intentionally walked and Plouffe was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. Sano drew a walk to force in a run and Eddie Rosario singled home two to make it 8-0 Twins.
Baltimore got two in the sixth on Hardy's homer and added one more in the eighth on a Jones double, but again, they never threatened to get back into the game.
WP: Gibson (7-6). LP: Kevin Gausman (1-1). S: None.
Notes: Danny Santana was at shortstop. He started the season as the regular shortstop, but did not hit and was eventually replaced by Eduardo Escobar. For the season Escobar played slightly more games at short, 71 to 67.
In this game, however, Escobar was in left field. Rosario, normally in left, moved to right, with Torii Hunter given the day off.
Shane Robinson went to left in the eighth in place of Escobar.
This was the sixth game of Sano's major league career. He was batting .450 and, as noted above, hit his first major league home run in this game. He would finish at .269 with 18 home runs. The Twins did not have a .300 hitter, or anything close to it, in 2015. In fact, Sano's .269 led the team. Rosario was next at .267 and Mauer batted .265. The Twins were next-to-last in batting average at .247. Detroit led the league at .270.
Brian Dozier led the team with 28 home runs. Hunter and Plouffe tied for second with 22. The Twins had eight players with double digit home runs: Sano had 18, Rosario 13, Escobar 12, Hicks 11, and Mauer 10. The Twins were tenth in home runs with 156. Toronto led the league at 232.
Gibson would probably have to be considered the ace of the staff. He went 11-11, 3.84, 1.29 WHIP in a team-leading 32 starts. The only other starter with an ERA under four was Tommy Milone, who was 9-5, 3.92, 1.28. Ervin Santana, who missed the first half of the season, was 7-5, 4.00, 1.30. The other starters were Mike Pelfrey (6-11. 4.26, 1.48) and Phil Hughes (11-9, 4.40, 1.29).
Glen Perkins was the closer, going 3-5, 3.32, 1.19 with 32 saves. Others who were reliable relievers include Blaine Boyer (3-6, 2.40, 1.25) and Casey Fien (4-6, 3.55, 1.09). Doing well in limited duty were Tyler Duffey (5-1, 3.10, 1.31), Kevin Jepsen (1-1, 1.61, 0.89), Ryan Pressly (3-2, 2.93, 1.41), and Michael Tomkin (0-0, 3.47, 1.29).
The Twins were tenth in ERA at 4.07. Houston led the league at 3.57. They were twelfth in WHIP at 1.33. Cleveland led at 1.19.
Baltimore players with a Twins connection include Hardy, Chris Parmelee, Steve Pearce, and Jonathan Schoop.
It seems like more than five years ago that we had people like Robinson, Boyer and Tomkin. Also playing in this game was J. R. Graham.
This was the middle game of a three-game winning streak. The Twins would go on to win seven of eight.
Record: The Twins were 45-39, in second place in the American League Central, 4.5 games behind Kansas City. They would finish 83-79, in second place, 12 games behind Kansas City.
The Orioles were 43-41, in second place in the American League East, 1.5 games behind New York. They would finish 81-81, in third place, 12 games behind Toronto.
Random Record: The Twins are 44-43 in Random Rewind games.