MINNESOTA 4, TEXAS 3 IN TEXAS
Date: Friday, August 16.
Batting stars: Marwin Gonzalez was 3-for-4. Jonathan Schoop was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer, his seventeenth. Max Kepler was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his thirty-third.
Pitching stars: Sam Dyson pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk. Taylor Rogers struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up two hits. Sergio Romo pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk.
Opposition stars: Mike Minor pitched seven innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on eight hits and a walk and striking out five. Nomar Mazara was 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs. Willie Calhoun was 2-for-3 with a walk.
The game: The Twins got two on in the first inning, but couldn't do anything with them. The Rangers got two in the second, but a double play took them out of it. The Twins broke through with one out in the fourth. Miguel Sano reached on an error and Kepler followed with a two-run homer. Texas immediately got one back in the bottom of the fourth on singles by Elvis Andrus and Calhoun and a wild pitch by Odorizzi. Still, it was 2-1 Twins through four.
The lead lasted until the sixth. Shin-Soo Choo led off with a double. He had only made it to third with two out, but Calhoun then walked an Mazara delivered a two-run double, giving the Rangers a 3-2 advantage.
That lead lasted until the next half-inning. With one out in the seventh, Gonzalez singled and Schoop followed with a two-run homer, putting the Twins up 4-3.
Texas threatened after that, but could not put the tying run across. They had men on first and third with one out in the seventh, but a double play ended the inning. They had men on first and third with two out in the eighth, but a strikeout ended the inning. They got a one-out double in the ninth, but again could not score him. The Twins held on for the victory.
WP: Dyson (5-1). LP: Minor (11-7). S: Romo (20).
Notes: Luis Arraez was in left field, with Eddie Rosario given the night off. Rosario came in for defense late in the game, with Arraez moving to second and Schoop coming out of the game. Jorge Polanco was at designated hitter in the absence of Nelson Cruz, with Ehire Adrianza playing shortstop. Kepler remained in center and Gonzalez in right in the absence of Byron Buxton.
Arraez was 1-for-4 and is batting .353. Rogers has an ERA of 2.63.
The Twins did not make any errors and only threw one pitch to the backstop. Improvement!
The game featured a matchup between Odor and Odorizzi. Odor walked once and flied out.
It may have been mentioned during the broadcast, but Kepler's home run gave him the record for most home runs in a season by a European-born player. He broke the record of thirty-two set by Bobby Thomson in 1951.
When the Twins went down 3-2 in the sixth, I was confident that they were going to get the lead back. I was not confident that they would keep it, but I was confident that they would get it back. I can't tell you why, I just was. And, of course, they did.
I did not hear an explanation for why Rogers pitched the eighth and Romo pitched the ninth, rather than the other way around. There may have been some matchups that influenced Rocco's thinking. Rocco has never said that Rogers is the closer, even though he's been using him that way. As we observed early in the season, if you don't announce that someone is your closer, then you don't have to explain why you didn't use them in that role.
We've talked about the Twins losing winnable games. One might say that here, the Twins won a loseable game. The only scored two runs in the first six innings, and only had four total. They lost the lead in the sixth. The Rangers had men all over the bases in the last three innings but did not tie the score. They went just 1-for-11 with men in scoring position, while the Twins went 0-for-2 in that situation. The Twins had more runs at the end, and that's all that matters.
Record: The Twins are 74-48, in first place in the American League Central, 1.5 games ahead of Cleveland.
Projected record: We're still on track for 114-48!