All is well in Twins land. They won on opening day for the first time since 2008, they won’t start the season 0-9 like last season and maybe, just maybe, free agent catcher Jason Castro will be the team’s saviour after all.
Castro, working with starter Ervin Santana, limited the Kansas City Royals to one run over seven innings, and also contributed two hits and a walk to fuel a decisive 7-1 victory over a team that has dominated the Twins of late.
Miguel Sano also hit his first home run of the season and, perhaps more important, didn’t commit an error; and although Byron Buxton struck out three times, he made two diving catches in the outfield, flashing the leather with the best of them.
Also notable: It wasn’t the Twins’ bullpen getting rocked late in the game, but the other team’s. Royals starter Danny Duffy cruised through six innings and then watched as his bullpen give up six runs the rest of the way. Meanwhile, the Twins’ Santana watched as his bullpen held the Royals scoreless.
If there was any concern, it’s that the Twins still are striking out a lot. As a team in Monday’s game, they struck out 11 times, but also drew seven key walks, including two from Robbie Grossman, who continues to show an ability to work pitching counts in his favor.
One win is in the books. Only 161 games to go.
Some reaction to Monday’s win:
Final: #MNTwins 7, #Royals 1: Twins win on Opening Day for first time since 2008. Santana 1 ER in 7 IP. 6-run 7th with 3 bases-loaded walks.
— Rhett Bollinger (@RhettBollinger) April 3, 2017
3 bases-loaded walks help produce 6-run inning, give Twins 7-1 lead. First time since 2007 they've scored more than 3 on Opening Day.
— Phil Miller (@MillerStrib) April 3, 2017
Ervin Santana would be first Twins pitcher to win on Opening Day since Livan Hernandez in 2008
— LaVelle E. Neal III (@LaVelleNeal) April 3, 2017
Should be said: Molitor's lineup worked perfectly yesterday. Royals pitchers ran into #mntwins most patient hitters at exactly wrong time.
— John Bonnes (@TwinsGeek) April 4, 2017