Once Boston ace Chris Sale stepped aside, the Twins went to work on the Red Sox bullpen.
The Red Sox had a 2-0 lead to that point, but the Twins scored a run in the seventh before Eddie Rosario doubled in the go-ahead runs for a 3-2 lead in the ninth. And then the wheels came off.
Closer Fernando Rodney, who labored in Thursday’s game to earn his 22nd save, blew the save in Friday’s game and Boston tied it at 3-3 to send it to extra-innings. And then in the bottom of the 10th, the Twins’ Matt Belisle served up a walk-off home run to Boston’s Mookie Betts. Ballgame. Twins lose, 4-3. It was the team’s 10th walk-off loss of the season.
Twins manager Paul Molitor could have called on workhorse reliever Ryan Pressly in that situation, but he became unavailable Friday night after he was traded to the Houston Astros for two prospects. The Twins also dealt infielder Eduardo Escobar, who leads the majors with 37 doubles, to the Arizona Diamondbacks for three more prospects.
Escobar said farewell to the Twins with a funny but heartfelt tweet.
THANK YOU Minnesota! I want to say thank you to my family, Twins front office, teammates, coaches, trainers and friends who day after day supported me and challenged me to be a better baseball player, a better person. Know that the Twins will always mean a lot to me. Wearing > pic.twitter.com/PGCdgbRj4Q
— eduardo jose escobar (@escobarmaracay) July 27, 2018
The following are the players the Twins received in exchange for Escobar and Pressly, according to MLB.com.
For Escobar: Class A prospects Gabriel Maciel, Jhoan Duran and Ernie De La Trinidad.
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Maciel, 19, is the headliner and was Arizona’s No. 11 prospect, per MLB Pipeline. The Brazilian switch-hitter is batting .287/.362/.333 with one homer, 10 doubles and 14 stolen bases in 68 games with Class A Kane County. Maciel is considered athletic enough to stick in center, but he lacks power, with four career homers in 180 games.
Duran, 20, has posted a 4.73 ERA with 71 strikeouts and 28 walks in 64 2/3 innings with Kane County this season. He was ranked as Arizona’s No. 19 prospect, as the Dominican Republic native is considered a projectable right-hander at 6-foot-5 and 175 pounds. He possesses a power sinker that sits in the mid-90s, with a solid curveball and a developing changeup.
De La Trinidad, 22, was not among the D-backs’ Top 30 prospects but is having a solid season at Kane County, hitting .311/.403/.442 with eight homers, 56 RBIs, 13 doubles and two triples in 91 games.
For Pressly: Double-A prospects, right-hander Jorge Alcala and outfielder Gilberto Celestino.
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Alcala, 23, was ranked as Houston’s No. 10 prospect, posting a combined 3.29 ERA with 82 strikeouts and 35 walks in 79 1/3 innings between Class A Advanced Buies Creek and Double-A Corpus Christi.
Celestino, 19, was the Astros’ No. 15 prospect, and he was promoted to Double-A after hitting .317/.383/.476 with four homers and 21 RBIs in 33 games at Class A Short Season Tri-City.
Meanwhile, MLB.com also reported Friday that after the walk-off loss, and losing Pressly and Escobar to trades, it produced an emotional clubhouse.
“It’s tough,” Pressly told MLB.com. “A lot of friends here. A lot of great guys in this clubhouse. It’s tough to say goodbye to everybody, but it’s a business. I get it. I get to go back home, which is the good part. I’m excited to go down there and help that team win. I’m pretty excited.”
“Press, I’ve known him a long time,” manager Molitor told MLB.com. “It’s hard to compare. Esco, obviously, is the heart and soul of the team, in a lot of ways. It was emotional, no question. Press, too. Two guys who have served the Twins very well. Hopefully they’ll go help those teams do what they are being brought in to do.”
-Jake Odorizzi gets the ball Saturday.
-Cleveland won Friday night so their lead in the AL Central is back to eight games over the Twins.
-Rodney’s blown save Friday was his sixth blown save of the season.
-Boston’s Sale was his usual dominant self with 10 strikeouts over six innings.
-The Twins’ Lance Lynn pitched much better Friday than in his previous start. This time he walked only one batter in six innings and gave up two runs with three strikeouts.