MINNESOTA 4, SEATTLE 2 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Thursday, April 5.
Batting stars: Eddie Rosario was 1-for-2 with a home run. Miguel Sano was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer (his third) and a walk. Mitch Garver was 1-for-3 with a home run.
Pitching stars: Kyle Gibson pitched 4.1 innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on seven hits and a walk. He threw 80 pitches. Taylor Rogers pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up only a walk. Addison Reed struck out two in a perfect inning. Fernando Rodney pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk and striking out one.
Opposition stars: Daniel Vogelbach was 2-for-3 with a walk. Jean Segura was 2-for-4 with a stolen base. James Paxton struck out seven in five innings, giving up two runs on four hits and a walk.
The game: The Mariners got both of their runs in the first inning. Dee Gordon and Segura opened the game with singles. With one out Mitch Haniger hit what might have been a double play ball, but a throwing error brought in a run and no one was retired. Vogelbach delivered a two-out RBI single to make it 2-0 Seattle.
Each team threatened in the second and the third, and the Mariners got a pair of one-out walks in the fifth. It was still 2-0 until the sixth, however, when Joe Mauer led off with a single and Sano followed with a two-run homer, tying the score. The Mariners put men on first and third with none out in the seventh but failed to score, so Garver was able to put the Twins on top in the bottom of the seventh with a home run.
Rosario homered in the eighth to make it 4-2 Twins. Gordon walked leading off the ninth and stole second, but the next three batters were retired and the Twins had the victory.
WP: Zach Duke (1-0). LP: Dan Altavilla (0-1). S: Rodney (1).
Notes: Ehire Adrianza was at shortstop in place of Jorge Polanco, who was suspended for the first half of the season. Sano was at third base. He was the regular third baseman when he was healthy, but he was only able to play 56 games there due to injuries. Eduardo Escobar played the most games at third with 77. Adrianza also saw substantial time at third (28 games).
Byron Buxton was in center field. Again, he would have been the regular there, but injuries limited him to 27 games in center. Jake Cave played the most games in center with 70. Max Kepler was there for 55 games and Ryan LaMarre played 34 games in center. LaMarre was in left field in this game, with Rosario given the day off. Rosario pinch-hit for LaMarre in the sixth inning and remained in the game in left field.
The Twins did not have a .300 hitter unless you count Willians Astudillo, who had just 93 at-bats. Polanco and Rosario each batted .288 to lead the team. The Twins batted .250, which was sixth in the league. Boston led at .268.
Rosario led the team with 24 home runs. Kepler had 20, Brian Dozier 16, Escobar 15, Logan Morrison 15, Cave 13, and Sano 13. The Twins hit 166 home runs, twelfth in the league. New York led the league with 267.
We went through the Twins pitching staff when we did a 2018 game about a week and a half ago, so there's no need to repeat that. The Twins were ninth in ERA at 4.50--Houston led at 3.11, which was more than half a run better than the second place team (Tampa Bay, 3.74). The Twins were tenth in WHIP at 1.38--Houston led there, too, at 1.10.
As you can see, the Twins were clearly not a bomba squad yet. Still, with all four runs coming on three homers, perhaps the beginnings were there.
The losing pitcher, Dan Altavilla, was actually having a solid season out of the bullpen until he got hurt in early June and had to miss the rest of the year. He was 3-2, 2.61, 1.26 WHIP in 22 games (20.2 innings). He had a poor year in 2019, leading one to think he may not have been fully healthy. One hopes he can bounce back for 2020.
The Mariners were 2-for-17 with men in scoring position and stranded 11 runners.
It seems like more than two years ago that we had these guys: Morrison, Logan Forsythe, Bobby Wilson, Gregorio Petit, Johnny Field, Taylor Motter, Oliver Drake, Tyler Kinley, David Hale.
Record: The Twins were 4-2, in first place in the American League Central, one game ahead of Chicago. They would finish 78-84, in second place, 13 games behind Cleveland.
The Mariners were 3-3, in third place in the American League West, 2.5 games behind Houston. They would finish 89-73, in third place, 14 games behind Houston.
Random record: The Twins are 49-48 in Random Rewind games.