All the momentum created by a successful road trip to Cleveland evaporated quickly Tuesday night after the Twins had a lousy first inning against the New York Mets, then struggled to capitalize the rest of the night.
Two unearned runs spoil another strong start by Michael Pineda, and Twins fall to Mets, 3-2 at Target Field. Minnesota's lead in the AL Central is about to be reduced to 5 games, its smallest margin since May 19.
— Phil Miller (@MillerStrib) July 17, 2019
The ninth inning was the perfect symbol for the entire game. The Twins loaded the bases for slugger Nelson Cruz, who then popped out to third base and the Twins lost, 3-2.
Suddenly, the Cleveland Indians are only five games back of the Twins. The Twins were off Monday, but not the Indians who won and moved a half-game closer to the division leader. Then the Tribe won again Tuesday over the terrible Detroit Tigers to pick up a full game on the Twins.
Tuesday’s game for the Twins began with an error and passed ball, which contributed to two early runs for the Mets. Twins second baseman, Jonathan Schoop, who committed the error, redeemed himself with a home run and the Twins ultimately tied the game at 2-2. But a wild pitch contributed to a third run for the Mets in the fifth and the Twins never recovered, despite putting a man on base in nearly every inning, according to the New York Daily News.
The Twins put a runner on base and threatened to take the lead in every inning but the seventh, when (reliever Justin) Wilson worked a 1-2-3 frame. But there was no relief in Minnesota’s lineup, ranked second-best in the Majors with a .271 team batting average. Top to bottom, Twins batters tried to intimidate the Mets bullpen into folding.
Twins starter Michael Pineda lost, but he still gave the Twins a quality start. He went six innings and allowed three runs, but only one run was earned. He’s now 6-5. Martin Perez gets the ball Wednesday.
-The Twins were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base.
-Eddie Rosario and C.J. Cron were back in the lineup Tuesday after spending time on the injured list. They had four of the Twins’ eight hits. I guess that’s a good sign.
-The Twins’ front office tandem of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine, otherwise known as Falvey & Co. on this blog, appear to be up to something. Two pitchers have been designated for assignment and a third was released, which could mean the Twins are trying to clear roster space to welcome new players. Is a trade in the works?
-Rosario and Cron were back Tuesday, but Schoop left the game early after an apparent injury. Byron Buxton, too, has been placed on the seven-day concussion list, according to MLB Trade Rumors.