Padre’s been telling us that it’s tough to beat the good teams, as evidenced by the recent string of losses to the Royals, Rangers and Cardinals. They showed some resolve and, for the second consecutive day, the Twins beat the team with the best record in baseball; their first back-to-back wins in two weeks.
They did it in pretty dramatic fashion, with Kenny[silent s] Vargas blasting a walk-off homerun with 2 outs in the 9th off of Carlos Villanueva (entered with a 0.75 ERA in 24 innings with only 1 previous HR allowed). It was especially nice to see as Vargas had hit into two double plays in the game, including a bases loaded double play to end a Twins threat in the 7th.
Before that it was Joe Mauer - with a stick - ripping his 3rd homerun of the season to the left field bleachers to tie the game at 1-1 with 2 outs in the 8th. Joe is second on the team with 36 RBI. The two teams combined to go 0-9 with runners in scoring position and left a total of 11 men on base. Arguably, the most important part of this game was the starting pitching performances, though neither starter would figure in the decision.
Jaime Garcia stymied the Twins batters for 6 innings, allowing only 4 hits while striking out 4. After the first two Twins reached to start the inning, Matheny then LaRussa’d the crap out of 7th, 8th & 9th, using 5 different relievers. Villanueva took the loss.
After a 3.2 inning appearance his last time out; an 8 run, 11 hit affair in Arlington last week, Mike Pelfrey (5-3) today returned to his 2015 form with 8 strong innings. He allowed only 1 run on four hits including a double to Matt Carpenter and a 7th inning homerun to Jason Heyward while striking out 3 and walking just 1. In doing so, he dropped his ERA back below 3 (2.97), best amongst Twins starters. Pelfrey is currently sporting the best* ERA+ (127) and WHIP (1.358) of his career. He has allowed only 5 HR’s this year, including the one to Heyward this afternoon.
Blaine Boyer continues his zombie act, wiggling out of a 9th inning jam after a leadoff double by Matt Carpenter and groundout put the go-ahead run 90 feet away. He struck out Mark Reynolds and got Yadier Molina to fly out to end the threat. In 31 innings this season, Boyer is 2-2 with a 2.32 ERA, 175 ERA+ and 1.097 WHIP, also the best numbers of his career.
*He did manage a 169 ERA+ in 2012, but only started 3 games before being shut down to have TJ surgery.