With the bases loaded and a 3-0 count to Boston’s Jackie Bradley Jr. in the bottom of the ninth at Fenway, it appeared that Twins’ closer Fernando Rodney was about to let the game get out of hand. But Rodney came back to strike out Bradley and preserve the Twins’ 2-1 victory over the Red Sox in Game 1 of the four-game series.
After the game, the Pioneer Press got the quote of the season from Rodney about who will win the AL Central.
“Oh,” he said with a twinkle in his bloodshot eyes, “we’re going to win the division.”
Rodney picked up his 22nd save and starter Kyle Gibson improved to 5-7 with a 3.42 ERA. Gibson pitched a great game. He went eight innings with seven strikeouts and limited the Red Sox to just one run. Gibson gave up a run early, then the Twins came back to tie the game before catcher Mitch Garver doubled in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning.
Pitch like that at Fenway Park before the July 31 trade deadline and you become a potential trade target.
Was tonight's brilliant performance Kyle Gibson's final start as a Twin? "I’m hoping not, you know," he said. "These guys are a great group of guys, and shoot, I think we can come back and make a push to the division and I’m going to be excited to be a part of it."
— Phil Miller (@MillerStrib) July 27, 2018
Boston starter Brian Johnson pitched shutout baseball for five-plus innings, then the Twins got to the bullpen. Heath Hembree was tagged with the blown save and Matt Barnes took the loss.
Lance Lynn gets the ball Friday.
-Lynn gets the ball for the Twins on Friday, but guess who gets it for the Red Sox? Chris Sale. Sale is 11-4 with a 2.13 ERA.
-The Twins have won four in a row and are now seven games behind the division-leading Cleveland Indians. After the Boston series, the Twins fly home to host the Tribe for three games. If the Twins win their next seven games and the Indians continue to lose, the two teams could be deadlocked at the top of the division by the middle of next week.
No harm in dreaming, right?