The Minnesota Twins began the second half of their six-game road trip in Oakland tonight, looking to bounce back from their loss to the Chicago White Sox on Sunday. However, that wasn’t meant to be as the Twins came up short again tonight. In what is becoming an all to common theme of late, the Twins will need to win tomorrow to avoid their first three game losing streak of the season.
Odorizzi: 3.0+ IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 61.2% strikes (46 of 84 pitches)
Home Runs: Sano (13), Castro 2(10)
Multi-Hit Games: Arraez (2 for 4); Sano (2 for 4, HR); Castro (3 for 4, 2 HR)
WPA of +0.1: Sano .226; Castro .164
WPA of -0.1: Odorizzi -.492; Magill -.115; Cruz -.104
A week ago, Miguel Sano couldn’t avoid striking out if his life depended on it. Fast-forward to present day, and Sano is giving us another glimpse of all that power potential we heard about for years, as he belted his fourth home run in four games to give the Twins a 2-to-0 lead in the top of the second.
The Twins tacked on another run in the third inning when Max Kepler led off the inning with his 20th double of the season, followed by a Jorge Polanco infield single, giving the Twins runners on the corners with nobody out. The A’s challenged the play at first, and it appeared that Polanco was out, but the replay official ruled that the play stood as called. Nelson Cruz then came up and grounded into a double-play that scored Max Kepler from third.
The A's got on the board in the bottom of the third inning when Matt Olson connected on a two-out, two-run home run to cut the Twins lead down to one. This was already Olson’s 17th home run of the season despite missing the first month of the season after having surgery on his hand. Then things fell apart for Jake Odorizzi in the fourth inning. Mark Canha reached to lead off the inning thanks to a Miguel Sano error. Odorizzi followed that up by walking Ramon Laureano and giving up a single to former Twin Robbie Grossman. It is then when a different former Twin by the name of Chris Herrmann who connected on one of those four-run home run things. Between the Grossman single and the Herrmann home run, Rocco Baldelli and the trainer were out at the mound to check on what was an apparent blister on Odorizzi’s finger. Three pitches later the Twins were down by three and Odorizzi’s night was done.
In the fifth the Twins got one of those runs back when Jason Castro crushed a leadoff home run to center field, trimming the Athletics lead down to two. Per Statcast, Castro’s homer had an exit velocity of 106.3 MPH, with a launch angle of 31 degrees, and went a projected distance of 417 feet.
Adalberto Mejia had a strong first game back from the 60-Day IL, going 3 and 1/3 innings, and giving up just one run. It was a little adventure for Mejia in the bottom of the fifth when he issued a one out walk to Mark Canha, before Laureano roped a double down the third base line. Canha appeared as if he was going to score on the play, but Marwin Gonzalez channeled his inner Yoenis Cespedes and gunned out Canha at home.
The Athletics were still able to bring a run home in the inning, as Robbie Grossman came through with a two-out RBI base knock, and just like that the Twins were back down 7 to 4.
The Twins were able to get single runs back in both the sixth and seventh innings, to trim the lead back to one run. In the fifth Gonzalez scored from first on a two-out double from Luis Arraez, aided in part by a missed diving catch from A’s center fielder Ramon Laureano that allowed the ball to get to the wall. The start of the seventh was almost identical to the fifth, as Jason Castro led off the inning with another home run to straight away center field.
The A’s were able to extend the lead back up to two in the eighth when Mark Canha took Matt Magill deep, this time not giving Marwin Gonzalez a chance to throw him out at home, as the ball traveled about 50 feet over his head.
Next up on our favorite game, Name that Former Twin, was Liam Hendriks who came in to shut the door on any hope of the Twins putting together a ninth inning rally. Hendriks picked up his third save of the season and improved his season ERA down to 1.35 (yes you read that right).
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Next Three Games
Wed at OAK, 8:07 pm CT (Gibson-Fiers)
Thu at OAK, 3:07 pm CT (Berrios-Anderson)
Fri vs TEX, 7:10 pm CT (Simpson-TBD)