The Twins produced just enough offense and five pitchers combined to three-hit the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday for a 3-0 shutout victory and a sweep of the two-game series.
Ex-Dodger and lefty, Rich Hill, pitched two-hit ball for five innings, then was spelled by four relievers who allowed one hit the rest of the way. Particularly impressive were Tyler Duffey and ace closer Taylor Rogers. Duffey struck out the side in the sixth inning on 17 pitches and Rogers earned the save on 11 pitches, nine of them strikes.
The Twins scored three runs on five hits, getting a home run from Eddie Rosario, an RBI double from Nelson Cruz and an RBI single from backup catcher, Alex Avila, a former longtime catcher for the Detroit Tigers.
The Twins managed to score three runs off Cardinals starter, Daniel Ponce de Leon, who almost sounds like a Spanish conquistador, but he also struck out eight over three-plus innings to limit the damage.
The Twins looked good against the Chicago White Sox and Cardinals, but now the real deal Cleveland Indians come to town for a four-game set. That series begins Thursday and continues through the weekend.
Indians starting pitching has been sensational so far — Zach Plesac struck out 11 over eight innings on Wednesday — so the object for the Twins will be to survive the starters and get to the Indians bullpen — just like the White Sox did.
The South Siders had no answer for Plesac, but once he stepped aside they jumped all over Cleveland reliever, Brad Hand, who served up four runs (three earned) to lose the game, 4-0.
Jose Berrios gets the ball for the Twins, while Shane Bieber, who struck out 14 on opening day, gets the ball for Cleveland.
The Indians loss means the Twins now lead the AL Central by half a game. The Twins are 4-1.
-The Twins lead the majors with 7.2 runs per game, according to the Associated Press.
Sources: MLB.com, AP.